Castries, Saint Lucia, Wednesday, May 31, 2023- On Thursday May 18, 2023, Republic Bank (EC) Limited, officially launched the 3rd ‘Five for Fun’ Youth Cricket initiative at Republic Bank’s Castries Branch.
The initiative, which was successfully piloted in Saint Lucia in 2021, is an Under 12 short-format cricket competition, designed for both boys’ and girls’ participation at the primary school level. It arose out of a collaboration between Republic Bank and Cricket West Indies (CWI). ’Five for Fun’ provides a pathway and regional coaching framework for aspiring CWI players. It ensures that children not only have access to cricket at the primary school level, promoting the game in a fun, safe, player-centered environment, but also provides opportunities for social and life skills development through cricket.
The launch event was well-attended by participating students of the Bocage and Micoud Primary Schools, coaches, representatives from the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, the Saint Lucia National Cricket Association (SLNCA) and representatives from Republic Bank (EC) Limited.
In his opening remarks, Operations Manager of the Saint Lucia National Cricket Association, Shaun Alcindor, thanked Republic Bank for funding such an initiative. He spoke to the impact that cricket can have on a young person’s life, observing that “through cricket young people learn teamwork, discipline and resilience”.
Donald Dave Albert, 1st Vice President of the Saint Lucia National Cricket Association, expounded on the benefits that this initiative will bring to young individuals. He noted that the SLNCA would not be able to provide such a program without the support of Republic Bank and that it is his hope that this program will birth future professional players.
The ‘Five for Fun’ initiative is part of Republic Bank’s larger commitment to social responsibility and community development. The sport of cricket holds great significance for Caribbean people as it represents a shared cultural heritage and serves as a source of national pride and identity.
In her remarks to the gathering, Fidela Haynes, Republic Bank’s General Manager for Business and Retail Banking, spoke about the important role the Bank plays in supporting the game's development in the region by providing financial and other resources for different levels of cricket.
“Through various initiatives at the professional and grassroots levels, the bank aims to not only promote the sport’s growth but also to promote the values of fair play, respect, and teamwork that the game represents. The Bank recognizes the value of the sport and is committed to supporting its development for future generations. ‘Five for Fun’ cricket will be key in allowing our children the opportunity to build fundamental life skills, with the possibility of continuing their cricket craft as a career, which is something important and tangible,” said Ms. Haynes.
Beyond its financial contributions, the Bank, along with its stakeholders, will continue to provide training for coaches, education in the spirit of the game and its values, and promote good sportsmanship among players and fans.
Clivus Jules, Acting Director of Sports at the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, expressed the Ministry's support for the program. He spoke about the program's benefits and the fun it brings to the participants. Additionally, he thanked Republic Bank for its ongoing efforts to grow and develop the sport of cricket in Saint Lucia and the wider Region.
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. As demonstrated in the competition's design, ‘Five for Fun’ builds on the Bank’s core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion by ensuring that everyone gets to participate fully in the game regardless of gender or skill level.
The program is expected to have far-reaching benefits as described by ‘Five for Fun’ coach Eldris Charles.
“Five for Fun will provide young cricketers with the basic skills needed for them to advance into the Under 15 play a lot easier and then propel them into the next level”, he added, “I am grateful for how Republic Bank really cares about the children and provides us what we need to really give the participants the quality coaches they deserve,” said Mr. Charles.
The ‘Five for Fun’ program is intended to grow to all of Republic Bank’s operating territories with the launch of the program in Guyana in 2022 and St. Kitts in 2023. This is the third edition of the program in Saint Lucia.