By Liz Rahaman

Telecommunications giant Cable and Wireless has once again showed its commitment and continued support to the community with the launching of its CONECT programme to assist all government high schools to develop their sports facilities.

Committed to Optimistic National goals for Each Child Together, was launched on Wednesday at the Ocean Terrace Inn, where  Patricia Walters, chief executive officer, explained the initiative was born out of an observation made of the inadequate athletic equipment in schools.

She however added that while the initial focus would be on the athletic equipment, C&W would further consider assistance in other sporting disciplines such as netball, basketball, football and cricket.

Walters said that such a programme would shift the burden of moulding top sportsmen and women from the government’s responsibility to embrace a jointly shared cooperate community, non-governmental organisations and the collective community.

“CONECT involves the entire community and will ensure that all of us have a stake in raising the profile of sports in St. Kitts and Nevis,” she added.

The success of the programme would depend significantly on members of the community with prepaid numbers, who would be coordinated to register their numbers at special events to be hosted at selected schools.

Each customer would be entitled to register one number per high school.

At the beginning of the new school term in September and at the end of every quarter thereafter, C&W would present a percentage of the top up revenue from the registered numbers to the nominated programme of the respective school.

The total amount of dollars would be published in the media on a CONECT barometer, Walters explained.

The schools involved in the programme are Washington Archibald, Basseterre Senior High, Verchild’s, Gingerland and Charlestown Secondary in Nevis, Sandy Point High and Cayon High Schools.

The first in a series of planned public launching is schedule to take place at the Verchild’s High School this Saturday, July 22.

The two high schools in Basseterre would have a joint activity on July 28.

CONECT would be taken to Nevis where another joint event is planned for the Charlestown and Gingerland High Schools at the Culturama Food Fair on Aug. 5.

The programme returns to the Sandy Point High School on Aug. 11 and at Cayon High School on Aug. 19.

Registration can also be done at any of the preferred named schools during the week.

The second nominated project in what is to be an on-going programme would kick-in after the respective schools would have achieved their first goal.

“This is meant to be a long-term dynamic initiative, which would ensure that there would be continuous synergies between the schools, the communities and Cable & Wireless. It truly is a win win situation for everyone…I can only see this programme working to the benefit of everyone, since all of us have connections to a school,” Walters said.

Vice-President of Corporate Communications, Lavern Caines, said that C&W commitment to the sporting fraternity, especially its long history in the cricketing arena, is evident in its yearly contribution of $40,000 dollars to the St. Kitts-Nevis Cricket Association.

Outside of cricket, C&W also sponsors netball and basketball tournaments in various communities.

“So we do have a long track record in so far as sports in St. Kitts and Nevis is concerned,” she said while noting that CONECT would take the level of commitment to sports farther, wider and more comprehensive,

“CONECT would help us to bring a more focused approach to sports in a way that would benefit the community very widely,” Caines added.

Lester Hanley of the St. Kitts/Nevis Amateur Athletics Association said the programme is sports oriented and designed to help most of the schools in the Federation develop the tools and to equip them with the necessary gears needed to take the various disciplines to the next level.

“It is a programme that the St. Kitts/Nevis Amateur Athletics Association welcomes at this time. It is a programme that we endorse and we give our support to Cable and Wireless and thank them for this investment.”

He appealed to all of the beneficiaries to make full use of the opportunity afforded them.

An appreciative Personnel Officer of the Ministry of Education, Lensworth Rogers, expressed much gratitude to the telecommunications provider.

“I am certain that this programme would have a positive impact on the lives of our children. We welcome this additional effort by C&W which we know is designed to improve the sporting skills of our students.”

He gave the assurance that every effort would be made to ensure that the students will benefit from the programme aimed at developing their character.