On Target
April 13, 2007
Of poor public relations

Two national sports associations over the past week gave the nation a lesson on poor public relations.

The tutors were the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association. And both got full marks in that aspect of their operations. Both during last month announced their intended date of the start of their respective competitions.{{more}}

It is unpardonable to think that neither association saw it fit to inform the media of their postponements.

It is the same media that was treated with disdain that they look upon to bring to the general public the progress of their competitions.

It is no wonder some of these national sporting bodies find it difficult to attract corporate partnerships. Netball, last year lost sponsorship from Bottlers St. Vincent Limited of its industrial and firms competition. The Cricket Association has found it difficult also to get financial support to fuel its programme of events. It will not be a surprise if the current partnerships are severed as there are no advertising returns for the sponsors’ input.

It is this sort of slip shod approach towards administration why the cricket association’s annual exercise of rewarding its top performers is met with indifference by cricketers as the administrators themselves have adopted a similar approach. It is no fault of the current crop of local cricketers who are a mirror reflection of those who have been put at the helm.

The opening of the national competition is often heralded in with muted silence. And as it turns out, it is just an occasion of formality, as no one seeks to light up the competitions with extraordinary performances.

The continued slippage of this Country as a force both in netball and cricket is designed in the meeting halls of these associations, as they fail to plan and or execute. Once bastions at the sub-regional level, St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ lone cricket title in 2006 was the Under-19 Windwards crown, while we barely scraped home to win in the Under-23 OECS netball tournament.

Fewer cricketers from this country are finding places on the various Windward Islands outfits, while countries like Dominica beat us in the Caribbean Under-15 netball competition last year.

It is pathetic to think that as parent bodies they are not examples worthy of emulation, as they, in recent times, have not set standards others will want to achieve. These Associations seemed preoccupied with window dressing rather than the genuine development of the respective sports. I will continue to harp that competitions are not development.

The much touted development and grandiose plans for the forward movement of the sport by the cricket association have been met stagnation. The Julian Jack led executive comes over as one lacking coordination; as the right hand at times does not know what the left hand is doing. The nine member body only takes collective responsibility when things are in their favour but quick to point to other members when things are in disarray.

Its handling of the coaching fiasco prior to last year’s inaugural Stanford 20/20 tournament was never properly publicly explained and in the absence of the truth of formal pronouncements for the cricket association rumours paraded with gay abandonment.

It is sad that organisations of lesser repute have well drilled public relations arm with an “in your face” style of operations. The Marriaqua Sports Association readily comes to mind. None of this organisation’s activities is kept in secret. The cricket association especially needs to take a leaf from the book of the organisers of the national masters’ cricket competition how to keep up to date with the public. Many organisations overlook the aspect public relations as an integral their set up but have proven to be their downfall.

The public through the media are the ones required to give moral and financial support to sporting ventures and reciprocity to these entities is vital.

We cannot bury our heads in the sand and think that things will fall into pace with a stroke of a pen, but work assiduously towards correcting this short coming.