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Sports Partnerships Discussed

Minister of Sport the Hon. Mark Scotland and Cayman Islands Olympic Committee President Donald McLean.

Cayman's Minister of Sport the Hon. Mark Scotland, JP and Cayman Islands Olympic Committee (CIOC) President Donald Mclean joined Olympic committees and sports ministers of from 205 other countries at the first ever World Olympic Sports Convention in Mexico.

The convention was hosted by the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).

Discussions centred on how governments and Olympic committees can establish better partnerships to ensure that the known benefits of sports such as the strengthening of societies and development of healthier populations can be achieved by the largest possible number of people. President of the International Olympic Committee Dr. Jacques Rogges, appealing for better partnerships, noted that the need was even more crucial at this time when countries were grappling with the challenges of more sedentary populations. He pointed out that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) some 60% of the world's population did not receive the required levels of physical activity.

In fact, according to the WHO some 1.9 million deaths each year are attributable to low levels of physical activity.

The Olympic Charter establishes the Olympics as a philosophy of life which blends sport with culture and education and seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles. The Olympic Charter also recognises sports as a universal human right.

Minister Scotland said that he welcomed the discussion between the Olympic committees and governments because true development through sports cannot be done by either one in isolation. He agreed that sports can be a very effective vehicle for the development of healthy societies and said that it was some of the best money a government can spend given the wide range of benefits which can be derived from sports.

Even as the convention emphasized the need for the autonomy of Olympic committees, there was a renewed call for what was described as "responsible autonomy" which involved qualities such as transparency and good governance, the maintenance of democratic principles within the organisations and operating within the legislative frameworks of the various countries.

Minister Scotland said "I hope to be able to take the discussions further with our local Olympic committee and other governing bodies of sport, to address a number of issues raised at the convention. These include the development of long term plans for wider grassroots participation within the districts, increasing the number of volunteers in sports, the increase in the significance and quality of school sports, increasing opportunities for the development of our elite athletes and increasing the involvements of women and the elderly in sporting activities".

Minister Scotland added that while the CIOC enjoyed a good and transparent working relationship with Government, this was not the case with all sporting federations and called on them to join the Government in getting behind a shared goal to maximise the benefits of sports for the Cayman Islands as a whole.

In this regard he will be establishing an advisory group in the near future made up of Government and sporting organisations to look at a number of the issues highlighted at the convention and to discuss a strategic sports delivery model for the Cayman Islands.

For further information contact: Cornelia Oliver