Sandals Resorts International and the Sandals Foundation have yet again shown their commitment to the development of St. Lucia using the viable vehicle that is sport.
On Wednesday their sport minded Public Relations Manager Sunil Ramdeen offered the good news that the company will be sponsoring the St. Lucia U-19 cricket tournament.
According to the Trinidadian Ramdeen :”I must say that I personally …have long believed in the power of sport to empower and motivate young individuals – whatever their background might be – opening new avenues for them to shine. Most recently we have partnered with NBA star Dwayne Wade’s Foundation to renovate the basketball courts in Castries, we have provided training opportunities for hundreds of young people via the Tiger InFlow Tennis programme, we have supported the Trevor Daniel Football Programme, and as many of you are familiar, we have invested heavily in the pre-cursor to today’s event, which is the Sandals’ Cricket Academy.
“Since 2002 over 350 young players have passed through the academy – which was the brainchild of my predecessor Dominic Fedee and Reds Pereira. We were fortunate to have been able to allow those young Saint Lucian cricketers exposure to tutoring and coaching from the likes of Darren Sammy, Brian Lara, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Jeffrey Dujon, Curtly Ambrose, Sir Garfield Sobers, Augustine Logie, Wes Hall and of course Coach Alton Crafton.
“Look I know first-hand what it’s like to have a passion for sport, and to have limited opportunities to pursue that passion. As a youngster I can tell you that once a ball was involved, I was ready to play it; cricket, football, tennis, basketball, lawn tennis, table tennis, squash you name it. Now let me make it clear, my willingness to play does not mean I was very good at them. Well, I wasn’t half bad at cricket and football, but that was a long time ago. I often look back and wonder what would have happened if I had a chance to pursue my passion. Maybe I would be have been able to someday represent my country, even my region and what a feeling that would have been. But for me, that dream is in the past, lost to a time when society felt that to be a success you needed to be a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer.
“Times have changed however, and more and more sport is being seen as a tangible and very profitable career choice. My dream of being a famous sportsman may be in the past, but for many young men and women in Saint Lucia and the Caribbean, that dream is very much a reality – all they need is a helping hand. That’s why is I am so very pleased to be part of this function today to officially announce that Sandals Resorts International, following cordial and fruitful discussions with the National Cricket Association, will be the official title sponsors of the Saint Lucia Under-19 Inter-District tournament for the next three years.
The Sandals Under-19 Cricket Cup will bowl off next month and the total value of the sponsorship – including direct financial aid as well as additional spend – is over TT$75,000 in the first year.
Ramdeen continued :”We have committed to this tournament for three years, and once all goes well, we will extend even further. This sponsorship is a testament to Sandals investment in cricket throughout the region, and follows a similar development last year, when we sponsored the Under-19 tournament in Jamaica. Sandals will be exploring opportunities in the other territories we call home, to try and see how we can develop similar projects to support the players there as well.”
President of the Cricket Association Julian Charles noted that the timing of the sponsorship was crucial, as the SLNCA seeks to take national cricket to another level.