On Target
August 19, 2016
Righting the wrongs

It may seem to many persons who follow sports in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), whether as ardent spectators or as casual observers, that there is more bad than good.

This is exacerbated by the constant bombarding and highlighting of the many issues, whether on the radio call-in programmes or by expositions such as this weekly column. In fact, those who concur, may just be right, as some of the problems have been allowed to become perennial.{{more}}

Putting things into perspective, it is not the problems, but the will to find plausible solutions in the shortest possible time frame.

Topping the list of that much needed panacea is the need to have a real national policy on sports.

It sometimes sounds pre-historic that national selectees who are government employees sometimes have to fight to get time off for national representation.

One could understand such hindrances coming from the private sector, but from ministries and state agencies, is totally unacceptable.

But the delay in the enforcement of a national policy, except for the babblings, could be a deliberate tactic by some in critical positions to wield their vested authority, while at the same time stalled the progress of our sportsmen and women.

For years, there has been talk and talk and never any action towards rectifying such issues, therefore some players simply sacrifice national representation in preference of their jobs, and rightly so.

Any reference to a binding national sports policy in train, is merely cosmetic, as the many instances of variances, point to its non – existence.

Adding to the list of woes are the several unfulfilled promises which have now become almost betrayal of trust in the persons who made those pronouncements.

The hot and sweaty declaration a few years ago that an indoor facility was coming to SVG was welcomed with much anticipation and unbridled excitement. The wait has gone on to almost forgotten proposition to some, but there are a few optimists who still hold out with hope that one is at least probable.

For those who made that solemn promise, the minimum appeasing could be a make shift one.

Those steel frames from the unfinished mas tents close to the Walvaroo area, (which are actually eyesores) can be dissected and configured to form a structure elsewhere.

Neighbours St Lucia showed others in the region what a little can do. They used a covered steel frame with all sides open and with a sport floor to host the Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association women’s Under-23 Volleyball tournament last weekend.

Despite the many limitations inclusive of delays because of rain and poor lighting, the show went on.

Vincentians have grown accustomed to making the best of slender resources, therefore, any similar structure, as bare as the St Lucia set up, will make do for Volleyball, Netball, Basketball and even Boxing, albeit for the short term.

Any facility which can accommodate those four disciplines mentioned will allow for an additional venue which would compensate for adverse weather conditions, as presently none is afforded a covered court.

One cannot have such a discourse and not highlight the vexing question of the debilitating short sightedness of policy makers and key holders of positions of clout, who work against national sporting associations, simply because of the presidents’ perceived political preference.

Whilst it understood that we are living in a highly partisan political country, when it reaches to the point of hurting innocent young sportsmen and women because of the association’s president’s political leanings, it just does cut it.

At the end of the day, it is not the president who goes out on the court, the field or the ring, but it is the name SVG which is represented, whether it is on an individual or collective basis.

So what follows are complaints and displeasures which are abound when our national teams do not perform well especially on overseas assignments.

But if certain infrastructure and policy mechanisms are not put in place, St Vincent and the Grenadines representatives start tournaments in a disadvantageous position.

We continue to harp and harp on the low returns from sports, but glorify when an individual or a team makes us proud with their efforts, but rarely stop to think that enough is not done to engender national pride in sports.

Hence, when SVG continues just to be numbered among the participating countries at regional events and at the compulsory world events, namely the Olympics and the Football World Cup Qualifiers, we know some of the causes.

This column in its wisdom has done what it has been doing for over a decade now, point to the ills, the spills and the thrills of sports in SVG.

Unfortunately, this piece is another in the litany of expositions which would be just stored in the archives.