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Sports may soon be placed as its own line item in territory’s budget

Sports may soon be placed as its own line item in territory’s budget

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley said sports may soon be placed as a line item in the territory’s annual national budget.
While at the celebration ceremony for the CARIFTA Games athletes last Thursday, Dr Wheatley said he thinks now is a great time to do so. And for this reason, he said the Sports Council Act was passed, and the idea is to feed grants to the different sports in the territory through the sports council.

“We perhaps could give the sports council a lump sum of money and of course we have the money that we put into the Recreation Trust — youth affairs and sports — but that lumpsum that we are going to put into the sports council will go a long way and of course, we now have a sports calendar, and we have a lump sum that we will be able to have a proper budget for sports year-round. Most likely it will be seen as a grant to the sports council,” Premier Wheatley said.

Dr Wheatley was also asked whether the territory might see a standalone Sports Minister in the Virgin Islands Cabinet or whether a Junior Minister would be in place to focus on sports.

However, the Premier noted the junior ministers are tied to the Premier’s Office for economic activity and that amendment was made in the United Kingdom parliament. He also noted that an increase in the number of ministers in the House of Assembly (HoA) would require an increase in the number of HoA members.

“Something like that will only be changed through the constitution. Of course, the amendment was made to allow those ministers to support the Premier. If we want to increase the number of ministers, you must increase the number of persons in the House of Assembly. If you want another minister, you’ll need at least another two backbenchers,” the Premier said.

“So, I don’t think there is an appetite for persons to increase the members of the House of Assembly. But of course, I have a lot of confidence in Honourable Sharie De Castro, the new minister for sports, and I am going to support her to my fullest and we will continue to develop sports until we decide to add more members to the House or not,” Dr Wheatley said.
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