Saturday, June 22, 2024

CWI: Republic Bank launches its 2024 edition of ‘Five for Fun’

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Photo Credit: Cricket West Indies

Republic Bank (EC) Limited (RBEC) launched the 2024 edition of its ‘Five for Fun’ Youth Cricket initiative at Republic Bank’s Castries Branch.

Successfully piloted in Saint Lucia in 2021, ‘Five for Fun’, is a dynamic Under 12 short-format cricket competition designed to promote boys’ and girls’ participation at the primary school level. Through a collaboration between Republic Bank and Cricket West Indies (CWI), ’Five for Fun’ provides aspiring CWI players with a clear pathway and regional coaching framework, ensuring that children can access cricket in a fun, safe and player-centered environment. This year, 25 primary schools from across the island will be participating.

The launch event was well-attended by participating students, coaches, representatives from the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, the Ministry of Education, the Saint Lucia National Cricket Association (SLNCA) and representatives from Republic Bank (EC) Limited. Also present were several young cricket stars who represent Saint Lucia regionally and internationally.

In his opening remarks, Kelly Mitchell, Marketing Specialist for RBEC spoke to the Bank’s commitment to the sport of cricket as well as Republic Bank’s larger pledge to social responsibility and community development. He noted that, “Republic Bank has grown into a key strategic partner in the development of cricket in the Region. Republic Bank is not only the title sponsor and official Bank of the Caribbean Premiere League (CPL) but also boasts of other initiatives like our online portal for cricket content known as the Spirit of Caribbean Cricket and this grassroots cricket programme, ‘Five for Fun’”.

The programme is a collaborative effort amongst RBEC, CWI, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports and the Saint Lucia National Cricket Association. In his remarks, President of the National Cricket Association, Wayne Auguste, expressed his delight in the launch of this programme and described it as a pivotal moment in the journey of cricket development in Saint Lucia.

“The grassroots programme for boys and girls is indeed one of the pillars for successful launch of the National Cricket Association’s strategic plan,” he said. “As we strive to elevate cricket in our nation to new heights it is essential to invest in the foundation of our sport, our young people, who fill our cricket fields with energy, enthusiasm and promise every lunch time”.

Also addressing the gathering was the RBEC General Manager for Business and Retail Banking, Bruno Didier. In his remarks he noted that,

“Republic Bank continues to support the game’s development in the Region by providing financial and other resources for different levels of the cricket game. “Through various initiatives, the Bank aims to not only support the sport’s growth but also promote the values of fair play, respect and teamwork that the game represents. Republic Bank recognizes the value of the sport and is committed to supporting its development for future generations”.

Minister of Education, Hon. Shawn Edward officially declared the 2024 ‘Five for Fun’ programme open. In his remarks he expressed how much the programme means to his Ministry and him personally. He stated,

“Mine is a personal story I can tell as to what cricket can do for your development. I am who I am because of my involvement in cricket at an early age and sport can do that for young people”.

He also thanked the Bank and its partners for this initiative and reminded students to be disciplined, punctual and show respect for their coaches.

The ‘Five for Fun’ initiative will culminate with five top zonal teams participating in a festival final. Each team will comprise five players and compete in a two innings (5-overs per innings) format. Each team will include at least two boys and two girls, and everyone will have an opportunity to bat, bowl and field. Republic Bank, through its sponsorship, aims to create an opportunity to nurture talent from a young age by providing access to quality coaching facilities, training for coaches, education in the spirit of the game and its values, and the promotion of good sportsmanship among players and fans.

Students represented at the opening ceremony spoke fondly about looking forward to representing their school and learning how to play cricket. Lester Justin, cricket coach for the program, spoke of the joy the program brings to the kids and urged parents to allow their children to take part.

The ‘Five for Fun’ programme is intended to grow to all of Republic Bank’s operating territories with the launch of the program in Guyana in 2022, St. Kitts in 2023 and Grenada in 2024. This is the third edition of the programme in Saint Lucia.

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