July 23, 2004

Government wants detailed information

This country’s bid for the 2006 World Cup in Germany is becoming something of a mystery circumstances. There are differences in approach towards fulfillment of the venture, and it appears that the issue is being made something of a political football.{{more}}
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves alluded to the scenario last Tuesday.
Gonsalves made one of his updates following overseas stints. But he is not happy with the way the local Football Federation is going about its request for government assistance.
The Prime Minister spoke of US$75,000 request by the Vincentian Federation to “strengthen the midfield” of World Cup squad.
But Dr. Gonsalves wants more details in order to justify the money.
He spoke of rumours circulated that his government was not helping this country’s World Cup bid.
He clarified his position and outlined aspects of government’s spending on sports, and in particular football.
He referred to refurbishment of the Victoria Park, and $253,000 on lights.
Competitions in schools were also mentioned as measures aimed at reviving the sport. Construction of the US$11 million National Stadium at Diamonds was highlighted as efforts to improve football here.
A floodlit football field will be the centrepiece of the National Stadium according to Dr. Gonsalves.
“Government supports one hundred percent, the quest for St. Vincent and the Grenadines to go as far as possible in this World Cup campaign,” Dr. Gonsalves said.
The Prime Minister pointed out that “professional and detailed information” was required if government was to respond to requests from sporting bodies for assistance.
Dr. Gonsalves is suggesting the inclusion of four state officials on World Cup Support Committee in preparation for the 2006 World Cup. He would like to see representatives from the Ministry of Finance, National Lotteries Authority, National Sports Council, and Ministry of Sports.
The Prime Minister was of the view that an Advisory Body including himself, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, be co-opted to the Committee.
“We have to do it in a structured framework,” Dr. Gonsalves pointed out.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines advanced with a 6-3 aggregate over Nicaragua. They are grouped with Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts/Nevis, and Mexico.
The squad plays Trinidad and Tobago August 18. Then move to Mexico September 4 and return home September 8 for a home match against St. Kitts/Nevis.