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‘Great time’ for sports as line item in Nat’l Budget– Premier Wheatley

‘Great time’ for sports as line item in Nat’l Budget– Premier Wheatley

Virgin Islands Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) says now is a great time for the addition of Sports as a line item in the national budget.

Dr Wheatley was at the time speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the recognition ceremony in celebration of the 2022 CARIFTA Games team at A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds on Thursday, May 19, 2022.

“When we passed the [National] Sports Council [Act], the idea now is to feed grants into the Sports Council, so we can perhaps give the Sports Council a lump sum of money, and of course, we have the money that we put into the Recreational Trust and sports,” he added.

Dr the Hon Wheatley said the money injected into the National Sports Council will go a long way alongside the new sports calendar for the VI.

While the Premier agreed that now is a great time for Sports as a ‘line item’ in the national budget, he reiterated that most likely the funding will be seen as a grant to the National Sports Council.

Hon Sharie B. de Castro now has a reduced portfolio and the Ministry is now simply renamed; the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, and Sports.


Need for a Jr Minister of Sports?


Meanwhile, when questioned about local VI sports having a stand-alone representative, perhaps in the form of a Jr Minister, Dr Wheatley said right now the Jr Ministers are tied to the Premier’s Office for economic development and can only be changed via amendments to the constitution.

“If we want to increase the number of ministers, you would have to increase the persons in the House of Assembly. If you want another Minister you will need at least another two back benchers,” he said.

Hon Wheatley said; however, that he has a lot of confidence in Hon Sharie B. deCastro (AL) with oversight for sports. Hon deCastro’s portfolio and her Ministry are now the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, and Sports.

According to Dr Wheatley, “I am going to support her with my fullest and we can decide whether we want to add more members to the House of Assembly or not,” he stated.

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