On Target
April 20, 2007
What’s up LOC?

The Arnos Vale, Sion Hill and Stubbs Playing Fields are blessed with upgraded facilities. These three venues were the centre pieces of the warm up matches hosted here last month ahead of the Cricket World Cup.

Everyone welcomed the refurbishment of the facilities at Sion Hill and Stubbs primarily for cricket, but were told that football and athletics would be beneficiaries and looked forward to their completion.{{more}}

The residents especially of these areas accepted, understood and sacrificed a year without a football competition last year. They withstood the temptation of interfering with the work allowing the enhancement to take place.

Whilst the refurbishing took place, these communities had to do without their recreational facilities although no alternative means of engaging the youths were sought.

That was the price they paid for progress. The grounds were frantically prepared for the March 2 to 9 exercises, understood.

It has been more than a month since the warm up matches have been completed, yet the Sion Hill ground is incomplete. To be more precise the area designated for the playing of football.

Yet the words of promise coming from the Local Organising Committee (LOC) under whose jurisdiction the ground rests presently, about its intention are insufficient. The same organisation bombarded the media prior to the warm up matches, given frequent updates of the progress of construction.

The football field of the Sion Hill Playing Field should be ,work in progress. Is work going on there to suggest urgency? Or are things at a stand still? Or is it no longer priority now that the warm up matches have come and gone? What is the state of that venue? I can’t hear you LOC?

The tardiness shown to work cannot be because of lack of funds, as the LOC as well as government officials always boasted of the EC$42Million allocated for the COMPLETION of all venues, Arnos Vale One and Two, Sion Hill and Stubbs.

The Sion Hill likewise the Arnos Vale Football Leagues over the years have been two of the more vibrant football competitions staged in suburban Kingstown. Would they have to go another year without this vital component of their communities’ social programme?

To learn that the football field at Sion Hill must be placed to minimise encroachment on the cricket area unearths and instantly magnifies the perceived cricket bias. Are footballers not deserving of the best facilities to ply their trade too?

But why should I worry as the stakeholders of football in the Sion Hill were never consulted for their input and local knowledge of the changes to be made to that facility. Football in dear to the hearts of the people of Sion Hill and their involvement is paramount in the dynamics of the facility.

One would have thought in 2007, in a period where consultative democracy is prevalent that it would have been a given. No way with the LOC on this particular aspect!

When the facility is put back into the hands of the National Sports Council by July 1, the football field there could be turned in another direction or other changes that can be costly to the organisers of the sport.

All sports have brought some sort of recognition to St. Vincent and Grenadines, so why the prejudice?

As we await the unfolding of plans regarding the usage of the improved facilities, let’s not repeat the mistake of marginalisation, but fully embrace inclusion in the planning process.

More importantly let’s see some semblance of equity among the major sports the four venues cater to.