Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 08, 2016 (SKNIS): Stanley Knight, Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, said that sport is imperative to the development of St. Kitts and Nevis in all aspects especially health. He made the statement during the Government’s weekly radio and television programme “Working for You” on Wednesday, July 06.
“Right now 80 percent of all deaths in St. Kitts and Nevis come as a result of lifestyle diseases and that is a huge number,” he said. “Cancer, diabetes and hypertension, those things which are controllable if we were to get more exercise, eat right, destress ourselves and do all of the things that occur naturally through your participation in sport.”
He noted that unhealthy lifestyles can negatively impact a country’s gross national product.
“A healthier population means lower medical expenses,” said Mr. Knight. [For example] “What it costs to cure one person of cancer can actually run a physical education programme for any large primary school, I can guarantee you for several years. The point I would like to make from a health perspective is that if we were able to get more healthy persons sport actually pays for itself.”
The permanent secretary reflected on the motto of the Heart Foundation from the Ministry of Tourism “Follow Your Heart to St. Kitts” and said the Ministry of Sports hopes to create the same or a similar approach with regards to sport.
“We would like to be able to partner to add value to that because if you are coming for sun, sand and surf, what you are saying is that you are coming to the Caribbean,” said the permanent secretary. “So if you are in the United States (US), why not go to Florida or The Bahamas or Turks. Why not go somewhere else. Why come to St. Kitts? We say come to St. Kitts because we have a product that we can actually address your passion. We can speak to your passion.”
Another important aspect of sport is excellence as noted by the PS. He made reference to Kim Collins’ victory in 2003 when he won the 100 metres at the World Championships.
“British Virgin Islands, Trinidad and several other countries actually had public half holidays to celebrate [his victory] because the self-actualization of a people comes from that sense of we are excellent,” said Mr. Knight. “And also, I have seen the figures which suggest that within 24 hours of Kim Collins winning that race two billion persons in the world looked at the race. And over the last 13 years they have calculated that a total of four billion has looked at that race. That is marketing value.”