Barbados Seeks To Strengthen Cuba Relationship In Sports.

From left to right: National Sports Council Director, Neil Murrell; Permanent Secretary, Yolande Howard; Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Dwight Sutherland; Cuban Ambassador to Barbados, Sergio Jorge Pastrana; and Senior Foreign Service Officer, Sandra Gittens, pose for a photo following today’s meeting. (S. Forde-Craigg/BGIS)
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The ‘pushing of new frontiers’ in sports was one of the main areas discussed during a courtesy call today between Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Dwight Sutherland, and Cuban Ambassador to Barbados, Sergio Jorge Pastrana.


Sutherland, in acknowledging the longstanding bilateral relationship in areas such as culture, health, education and sports, noted that the cooperation between the two countries in eight sporting disciplines could be further developed, and highlighted cricket and road tennis as two disciplines for future cooperation as well as scholarships.

He also stressed that sport is one of the pillars Government intends to utilize to develop the youth in Barbados, and to emphasize the role it can play in youth development, he quoted Nelson Mandela: “Sport has the power to change the world; it has the power to inspire; it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand.”

Agreeing with the quote, Ambassador Pastrana stated: “Sport is one of the main elements we have to develop the youth….  Sport can bring higher gains in terms of principles, personal development and building character.”

Mr. Pastrana assured Minister Sutherland of Cuba’s commitment to its relationship with Barbados, and extended an invitation to Minister Sutherland to visit Cuba’s University of Sports, especially its biomechanics division, and its psychology sports lab.

The Ambassador also gave the assurance that the coaching program, which has been one of the longest lasting initiatives between Barbados and the Republic of Cuba, would continue.

Under the current bilateral agreement, there are seven Cuban nationals contracted to provide coaching in a number of disciplines.

The minister has said that he wants more Barbadian coaches to share their knowledge in Cuba.

“We would like to see Barbadian coaches teaching the indigenous sport of road tennis in Cuba. We are interested in expanding road tennis across the region,” he said, also calling for scholarships and exchanges in sports.

The Minister, who is also responsible for Culture, further indicated that Barbados wanted to collaborate in the areas of heritage conservation, restoration techniques, as well as cultural and technical exchanges.

Barbados and the Republic of Cuba established diplomatic relations in December 1972, however there are as yet no plans for Cuba to be brought into the world of cricket-playing nations.

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