On Target
July 26, 2013

Preparing to be good hosts

St Vincent and the Grenadines is set to host two major sporting events from this weekend.

The CBN/ Winlott Inc Windward Islands Schools’ Games are scheduled from July 27 to August 4, while the Arnos Vale Playing Field will be the venue for the first ever Twenty/20 Internationals to be hosted by this country.{{more}}

The matches involve the West Indies, current holders of the World T-20 title and Pakistan.

Neither international cricket nor the Windward Islands Schools’ Games are new to St Vincent and the Grenadines, but there is that underlying moral obligation for us to be good, if not great, hosts.

Although our hosting of the two cricket matches, this Saturday and Sunday, was only confirmed just over a month ago, this should not in any adverse way affect our capacity to get the administrative machinery in place, churning to its full capacity, and deliver as we have done in the past.

Therefore, it is left for Vincentians to show the region and the world our support for international cricket.

Yes, because of the setup in regional cricket, gaining international matches is a given, as governments in the Caribbean have expended millions on their stadia, hence by right, each island is afforded a piece of the pie.

What then should be St Vincent and the Grenadines’ trump card is that overwhelming support which will keep us always in the eyes and minds of those charged with the allocation of the matches.

Keeping the festive spirit to show off to the world will put us in good stead. However, this must be done within the parameters of the laws of the land and the codes of conduct expected at such events.

Over time, some Vincentians have used the occasions to indulge in excesses, and T-20 cricket, which is often played at a frenetic pace, provides the platform for behaviour which at times goes overboard.

Extra vigilance must be in place for this weekend, as the Arnos Vale Playing Field will be the venue for the track and field component of the Windward Islands Schools Games which had to be deferred to Monday, instead of Saturday, because of the late notice of the T-20 matches.

So, the nutritious diet of sporting activities continues with the Windward Islands Schools’ Games obviously gaining greater attention, as the T-20 matches will be done and dusted.

This year, as hosts, we will see a wider geographic spread of the various disciplines.

Organisers have ventured to have the games move around the mainland, with competitions set for the Arnos Vale Playing Field, the Park Hill Playing Field, the Girls’ High School Hard Court, the New Montrose Basketball facility, the Questelles Hard Court, the Keartons Hard Court and, as promised, the Victoria Park.

What these choices have done is to give persons in the rural communities an opportunity to see the youngsters on display, while giving the three visiting contingents – Dominica, St Lucia and Grenada, a feel of rural life here, and at the same time take in the scenes and sites on offer.

But whilst there are the pluses, the instituting of an entrance fee to the venues can be a bit of a challenge for the organisers’ intention to recoup some of the expenses, while at the same time adds value to the tournament.

Part of the reasoning behind the fees is that it is felt that the free entry devalues the status of the annual exercise.

This too is against the backdrop that the promotion of the games has not been blitzy, but we have to endeavour to make the event one worth remembering for the best of reasons.

Whatever the shortcomings of the assigned organisers, all Vincentians should own the games and do their best to be good hosts.

Pivotal, too, is the moral support the home team needs, as St Vincent and the Grenadines is at this time enjoying some moderate success in sports, compliments our young people.

So adding the games to the list of achievements will be another crowning moment.

And, history favours us, as the last two occasions St Vincent and the Grenadines hosted the games, the title stayed here, albeit jointly.