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The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) on Saturday launched its National Athlete Programme, designed to support local athletes to achieve their potential.

The programme, which was launched at a sports day in West Kingstown, is designed to offer athletes financial support on an ongoing basis, the party said in a press release.

“The NDP has contrasted this with the ULP (Unity Labour Party) government’s piecemeal approach to support athletes. This new approach will deliver for the whole country. The new programme will provide financial support for athletes,” the party said.

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Opposition Leader and NDP President, Godwin Friday, left, and Central Kingstown MP, St. Clair Leacock, one of the party’s vice presidents at the launch in Kingstown on Saturday.

“We are proud to launch our National Athlete Programme today. This programme will create a national programme, similar to the national scholarship programme, to support local athletes to reach their potential,” Opposition Leader and President of the NDP, Godwin Friday said.

“The ULP has continually neglected to develop our country’s sporting talent. As recent news stories have shown, support to our athletes is unreliable and inadequate. One-off sponsorship of particular athletes is simply not good enough and a new approach is required.”

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He announced that East Kingstown MP, Dwight Fitz Bramble, a former national goalkeeper, would continue to lead the party’s efforts to develop this policy.

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East Kingstown MP, FitzBramble makes a presentation at the event on Saturday.

Bramble said: “The NDP will deliver that new approach. Our national athlete programme will ensure promising and outstanding athletes have the ongoing financial support to reach their goals.

“We want athletes to be able to train, compete and win safely in the knowledge that they have the support needed to achieve their goals. This programme is part of our ongoing commitment to young people, to give them a future, to ensure they can build a life here in SVG.”

The NDP said that over the coming week there will be a series of meetings with major sports organisations and other groups and interested people.

“The party will develop the policy proposal in more detail and announce later in the year,” the NDP said.