Deputy PM Santia Bradshaw to parents: Football unites communities Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

Deputy Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw lauded residents of The Pine for their involvement and investment in sports as three footballers were recognised for their contributions to the sport and their community posthumously.

Sports has a very important role to play in the development of communities and in shaping our young men and women.

On February 4, the Deputy Prime Minister and Parliamentary Representative for St Michael South East, along with representatives from the Barbados Football Association, relatives of the deceased and members of the Pine community all gathered at the Parkinson Community Centre to pay homage to Wayne Trent, Tony ‘Jahtone’ Harris and Antony Kippins.

In her address, Deputy Prime Minister Bradshaw reflected on the power of the sport in bringing communities together.

“The thing that we sometimes forget is how important sports is in relation to these types of communities, especially densely populated communities such as the Pinelands community. Just a couple of years ago there was what I called an imaginary line drawn across the football field where one group versus the other, dared not cross the line otherwise there would likely have been some level of gunplay. And it impacted this community in such a way that people didn’t traverse across this imaginary line…and it was football for me that really made a difference in terms of reuniting this community,” she stated.

“Football allowed us to bring the entire community together

She spoke glowingly about the contribution made by three Pineland FC players.

“We are here this evening for what I consider to be a very important reason.

“Oftentimes we celebrate the victories when we have footballers bringing home trophies to The Pine and that gives us a very good feeling but I think that it is important that especially our younger players and also people across the community appreciate and understand the role that these individuals play in the development of the community because I think sometimes that is lost,” Bradshaw said.

Deputy PM Santia Bradshaw and relatives of the late footballers at the unveiling

As she reflected on their legacies, Bradshaw suggested that there are lessons to be learnt and passed on.

She added:

“I think that we have to continue to go a step further and to teach about the practices and ethics of these individuals – what is it that drove them to become not just household names but in many cases national players as well in the country?”

The Deputy PM highlighted the impact of the sport on the Pinelands area and how it mended bridges across the community.

“Football allowed us to bring the entire community together. The Pinelands Youth Soccer Academy has been at the forefront obviously of this evening but also of leading the charge in bringing the youth players together. Our reasoning was, if you bring the young people together then the parents got to come and watch the young people. Eventually what were differences, was then a ceasing of differences because people understood that there was more at stake in terms of the youth, if they continued the violence.”

She appealed to parents to continue to encourage and permit the younger generation to participate in the sport, despite the wear and tear it could have on the body because the sport could rally an entire community while instilling a “sense of pride”.

“Sports has a very important role to play in the development of communities and in shaping our young men and women,” she asserted.

The unveiling took place after the ceremony concluded and it was followed by an exhibition football game on the adjoining playing field.