On Target
May 24, 2013

What is the hold-up?

It has been almost a year now since Team Crew won the inaugural regional Guinness Street Football Challenge, which gave them the right to erect a pitch in their community.{{more}}

There was much hype, anticipation and fervour on the occasion and the fact that St Vincent and the Grenadines made history by becoming the first winner added to the excitement about having the US$20,000 facility built.

Discussions were pregnant and sometimes even fruitful as to the placement of the pitch, with current Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture Cecil Mc Kie, the choir master and lead vocalist in advocating that it be placed at Diamond — the proposed site of the National Stadium project.

But where has this enthusiasm gone, as no longer anyone seems to care, and as it is said, “It has been put on the back burner”.

Whilst the representative team – Team Crew carried the flag of St Vincent and the Grenadines in the competition, and brought the title back here, it is central government, through its various arms and agencies, which should facilitate the land space on which the pitch is to be erected.

However, their deafening silence on the issue must get an awakening, as time waits on no one.

So, here we are, the finals of the 2013 competition have swung around our way, but yet Team Crew and, by extension, St Vincent and the Grenadines have nothing to show to the visiting finalists what they should aspire to achieve, if they win this year’s version.

This column understands the workings of government and the many channels of administration that one has to wade through for the realization of such a venture.

But that does not make it right to be foot dragging and pussyfooting on the matter, as it is similarly important that the US$20,000 continues to lose its value, as the cost of materials and other inputs are also on the rise.

One would have thought that same political ride and hype that the authorities used when it became known that St Vincent and the Grenadines was the recipient of the pitch would be still around at this time, as they stand to benefit in the long run.

And, this situation is nothing new, as the St Vincent and the Grenadines Volleyball Association were offered a sport court from the continental organization NORCECA, but had to pull teeth and even gum for the powers that be to understand the benefits of obtaining such a facility at minimal cost.

Those who hold the reins of authority are falling to comprehend that additional sporting facilities help to provide pathways for social cohesion among and within communities, while engendering a love for self and country.

Additionally, a street football facility bears simplicity and does not necessarily have to contain all the trappings at the first go, but can be improved overtime.

Also, such a facility can be utilized for other recreational activities, thus buffering the demands on the sporting facilities which exist in the area.

The street football pitch, which rightfully should be placed in Sion Hill, therefore will bring with it, benefits to the community, as the residents are yearning for another lift in their spirits.

And, nothing can be more pleasing than to have the pitch, as the community is feeling a resurgence in sports, especially football.

The recent successes in national football competitions, where Sion Hill placed second in the first division, thereby earning a berth in the premier division of the national club championships for 2013, and the Sion Hill league team reaching the semi-final stage of the national community inter league competition, point to an upward movement in that discipline.

Let us act with greater sense of purpose and get the facility cranking, as it would be a shameful act if we cannot sort ourselves out and ensure that we capitalize on the winning in the shortest possible time frame.

We would be the laughing stock of the region if we fail to do so, and let flimsy, personal and party political reasons put blinkers over our eyes, while the bigger picture is obscured.

But while time slips by, one can rest assured that this column will keep the fire burning on the matter.