The Trinity deputy – a JSC official long before his time in the States Assembly began in 2018 – believes sports groups must be given greater support as they deal with financial difficulties brought on by the pandemic, while stressing that a smooth transition at a political level is required.
Economic Development, Tourism, Sport & Culture Minister Lyndon Farnham is expected to unveil Senator Steve Pallett’s successor in the coming days – after the latter resigned from his role as Assistant Minister to support a vote of no confidence in Chief Minister John Le Fondré.
Pallett had held political responsibility for sport in Jersey since 2014.
‘I don’t want to see any sport in Jersey disappear,’ said Raymond.
‘From a Jersey Sports Council point of view I’m very concerned ... we have to make sure we look after the sports volunteers sector that keeps sport going. We have to make sure their facilities are in one piece and they can continue when Covid is over.
‘Most sports pay rent to the States for premises and I want to make sure they don’t lose that ability. Some sports haven’t been making money on membership but are still paying rent. We don’t want people thrown out of their rental facilities.
‘If you take the number of people who play sport, from tiddly winks to rugby – we have to keep these sports bodies going and make sure they can have their annual general meetings and present their figures. They have got to plan ahead because they shall be taking part in sport somewhere along the line in the next 12 months.
‘What we don’t want to do is lose the enthusiasm of people who have been backing sports for so many years. We have something like 22,000 people involved in some sort of sporting activity ... I know there are a lot of other problems going on in the Island at the moment but we can’t be boring all the time and work – we all need an outlet and that outlet is sport, without a doubt.’
Asked whether he would be interested in following in Pallett’s footsteps, Raymond – already an Assistant Minister for both Health and Infrastructure – said: ‘I am very keen on sport.’