On Target
August 24, 2007

Build or reconstruct?

When the 2007 National Calypso Monarch Kenneth “Vibrating Scakes” Alleyne penned his song “Bridges”, he was both prophetic and reflective, as there is a distinct divide among our people.

Sports had been the last unifying force in our segregated community, and football, the strongest link.{{more}}

Having become architects who perfect the erection of partitions, Scakes’ plea, though timely, seems to be falling on deaf ears.

It is clear that the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation elections slated for early October have left the confines of the persons who know about football and care about its future.

With a daily diet of the attributes and ills of the factions seeking office, the campaign has taken on national interest, with radio waves being the main conduit.

Persons who know very little about the sport, its struggles, its day-to-day operations, and do not even attend a football match, are adding their two cents, on either end of the split.

This shows that despite misgivings, democracy is alive and well. But what do these pronouncements, innuendoes, charges and accusations do to national development and say of the maturity of our people?

Fuelled by the obvious political divide between the two major political parties, the NDP and ULP, persons from both camps have emerged to lend support to those whom they perceive are in their political corner .

One may argue that this is the accepted norm associated with the rancour of organisational dynamics and politics. But with the current highly charged climate, where every issue has a tendency to be politicised, how far will this simmering tension among the football administrators and their supporters take us?

This divide has taken up permanent residence in the psyche of Vincentians and is the accepted mode of operations these days.

This iniquitous culture has held us in a vice for the past ten years, clawing with its venomous tentacles for dear life with no escape route in sight.

Football, by its very nature is combative and filled with passion, but when this passion flows into personality clashes, the worst can be expected.

Football can ill afford this sort of diatribe. It has its own internal politics, but partisan party politics is undesirable. However some see the two as inseparable. As it is, it is more about politics in football than football politics.

As a sport with great potential, we have failed to tap fully into its prospects of a feasible alternative for development.

Instead we become our own enemies of self-destruction with our demeanour.

It is my view that each of parties seeking to hold a post on the executive has good intent for the sport.

If this is not the case, when elected or re-elected, their motive, if for self aggrandisement will be exposed to all and sundry.

In this entire feud, are there winners or losers? It is this sort of display that often wards off persons with administrative acumen from willingly rendering their service.

This reluctance sometimes leads to hand selection of cliques, autocracy, a laissez faire attitude or recycling of administrators.

Conversely, no one or any group of persons is endowed with the divine right to executive portfolios of the federation.

But as things unfold day by day, there are questions we must ask ourselves while we proceed in the pre-election period.

How then can public image and favour be found with corporate entities willing to invest in the sport? After all is said and done will all the opposing sides, whichever is elected, practice inclusion ?

History will be unkind to us when this chapter is written and everyone comes out tainted with mud.

As times the rebuilding process becomes arduous as the demolition job takes a toll with much of the old and unwanted materials having first to be discarded.

Football is definitely the “Game of the People”, as coined by former football association president Basil “Bung” Cato some years ago, hence the need to treat it as such.

Like football, the Local Organising Committee(LOC) needs to built a bridge of communication to the people of Stubbs and Sion Hill and tell them when they will get some access to the two playing fields.