December 21, 2007
‘Prolonged impasse doing no good for school sports’

The strained tensions among some officials of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Tourism, Youth and Sports, could be relaxed if the latter accepts the olive branch offered.{{more}}

Making that plea for reasoning was Deputy Chief Education Officer, Luis de Shong, while he addressed the Closing and Presentation Ceremony of the 2007 Vita Malt Schools’ Netball Tournament last week Thursday at the Kingstown Netball Centre.

de Shong subsequently told SEARCHLIGHT that the prolonged impasse is doing no good for the nation’s students.

“I think it is doing no good for school sports and we need to get that support from the officials in the Department of Physical Education and Sports,” the Deputy CEO admitted.

“There is need for dialogue because what is happening does not augur well for school sports,” de Shong said.

de Shong referred to a previous attempt at putting an end to the issue, but the meeting of the top officials of both entities has borne no fruit, as everything has gone back to square one.

The Deputy Chief contends, though, that for healing to take place that some persons in the Department of Physical Education and Sports must first purge their minds and adopt a greater level of maturity and professionalism.

“They (The Department of P.E and Sports) have the man power, so we should all work together,” he added.

He expressed his Ministry’s willingness to take the lead to advance the cause of reconciliation. But a forthright de Shong is shifting the blame for the protracted melee on the attitude of some officials of the department.

“Why should you have someone in the Department of Physical Education and Sports deliberately disrespecting, denigrating and disparaging Ministry of Education officials at every turn?” de Shong questioned. “The man is digustingly unprofessional and immature.”

“We have to remember that we are all public servants,” de Shong said.

The first term of the 2007 to 2008 academic year saw a withdrawal of services by members of the Department of Physical Education and Sports in the Ministry of Tourism, Youth and Sports from sporting activities under the auspices of the Ministry of Education.

Reciprocity came in the form of a directive from the Ministry of Education, which debarred officials from the Department of Physical Education and Sports from conducting coaching in the schools without prior approval.

What then occurred was that the football and netball competitions were organized by the Ministry of Education, with support from the Physical Education Sports Teachers Association(PESTA).

Such was that lack of support that the four semi finals matches of the football competition were carried by one referee, Rawlston Morgan.

An optimistic de Shong is hoping that the new year would bring a re-modelling of thoughts, and that there would be further development of Physical Education and Sports throughout the school system, the main objective of all parties involved.