A better thought out process was needed
On Target
May 19, 2023
A better thought out process was needed

The announcement by the National Sports Council to close Sion Hill, Arnos Vale One and Two, as well as the Stubbs Playing Fields has dealt a severe blow to the psyches of the many users of these facilities.

The May, 9, notice stated that the four facilities are closed to the public from May 16, to June 19, 2023.

It said the closure of the four venues is to facilitate restorative work, as St Vincent and the Grenadines will once again host the West Indies Rising Stars Under-19 Cricket Tournament from July, 2, to August 2.

Furthermore, the release advised that the public should “refrain” from using the fields, “since the chemicals used in the pesticides and herbicides can be hazardous to health”.

Ironically, amidst this pronouncement of the closure of the Arnos Vale facilities, a cultural event has been promoted to take place at the said venue this Saturday, May 20.

Are we left to analyse that the venue is still in use since a function is scheduled? Or was it an oversight on the part of the NSC’s management, relative to the timing of the release and the right away to have an activity there during its closure?

Either way, the situation is baffling as it does not add up. Neither it can be reasonable to close three sporting facilities in proximity when there are no alternatives.

It means that the Football clubs, Track and Field clubs, members of the SVG Rugby Union that utilise these facilities on a daily basis, the regular sweaters, walkers, joggers and others who use them to practice their sporting craft, recreate, socialize or just for a mental break, must scramble to find alternatives.

Not forgetting as well the various groups of workers who use Football especially as a means of indulging in some physical activity after a hard day on their various jobs.

Hurt most would be those Football clubs that are engaged in the age group competitions in the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation’s National Club Championships.

Additionally, this year these playing fields are populated by females especially as they get their bodies in shape for the taxing list of Vincy Mas activities.

One would hazard a guess that little consideration and thought went into the decision-making as it related to the closure of those three fields in particular.

In saying so, this column is cognizant and understanding that the four facilities are really and truly in need of restorative work.

Likewise, it is not about slighting the need for St Vincent and the Grenadines to have the venues in pristine condition to host the Under-19 Cricket Tournament, as it is a revenue earner for the country during that one -month period of its hosting.

Despite all the pluses and economic spin-offs however, one would readily chide the hierarchy for carrying out the rehabilitative work all at the same time.

Couldn’t they employ a phased approach to the closures, especially with the Arnos Vale and Sion Hill venues?

In short, a systematic approach towards the closures of these facilities would have been the best option, while at the same time providing that outlet for users.

This is also in keeping with the realities that the three venues are centrally located, therefore access is easier.

What then can be done at this time, as effectively, the May, 16 date for the planned closure has come and gone.

Is it possible for the management and Board of Directors of the NSC to rethink their decision?

Hopefully, some good sense would prevail over the next week, since the authorities have shot themselves in the foot, by having the Arnos Vale One venue being used this weekend.

Whether things change or not and a rethink is done, those in decision making positions have to be more meticulous and understanding when tasked with applying such measures.