As the CBN/WINLOTT Windward Islands Schools Games (WISG) gets underway in Dominica, Sports Minister Justina Charles has sent a strong warning to young athletes to abstain from the use of alcohol and illegal drugs.
Mrs. Charles made the remarks while addressing the opening ceremony of the WISG held at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Athletes from Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia and Grenada will, over the next week, participate in five sporting disciplines, namely football, basketball, track and field, netball and volleyball.
“Important for us in this era is abstinence from use and abuse of any form of illegal substance and also alcohol, it is not illegal but also we are very cognizance that we need to abstain from the use and abuse of alcohol,” Charles stated.
She continued, “You who are gathered there to represent your countries, therefore have a responsibility to carry this message and to ensure all are convinced of the notion that a strong brain exists in a healthy body, all of which can be achieved through your participation in sports.”
She said Dominica continues to invest in the physical development of the youth through the implementation of sports program at schools across the island and the development and improvement of sporting facilities.
“These will provide our students the added motivation and impetus to partake in the various programs which are geared at their physical development which will ultimately result in a healthier society.”
Charles urged youth of the Windward Islands to continue participating in physical activities and expressed the hope that the high level of discipline and respect displayed on the field will lead to the molding of character, the development of team spirit, discipline and life-long friendship.
“Let me urge all who are part of these games to do all in your power to ensure that the games are conducted in the spirit in which it was meant to be held by the founders…let us not allow rivalry to get to a point of deteriorating into any form of undesirable conduct; let us ensure that our utterances are controlled and that our students are not encouraged to a point in engaging in deviant behavior.”
She added, “The games promotes the firm belief that sports and academics can coexist. Your presence and participation is testimony to that, but more importantly its impact on enhancing your academic performance and your holistic development.”
The week-long activity is organized by the Sports Division, the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Culture and Constituency Empowerment in collaboration with CBN and WINLOTT.