January 9, 2009
Fresh Start for the National School Games Committee

A renewed focus, the burying of the hatchet and an all hands on deck approach will see the return of sports competitions among the nation’s schools, this term.{{more}}

The revival of the National School Games Committee is seen as the catalyst for this resurgence of positive energies by those charged with carrying out the administration of sports in the schools.

And the man who in late 2007 extended the ‘Olive Branch’, after there was a fall out between the officials of the Ministries of Sports and Education, Deputy Chief Education Officer Luis de Shong has been appointed head of the Committee.

With his wishes achieved, de Shong told SEARCHLIGHT last Wednesday that he was happy that things are back on track and students can once more enjoy the benefits of competitions.

He noted that the Secondary Schools Netball Competition will start on January 15, with the Under-20 Cricket Competition set to begin January 28.

de Shong stated that the Annual Inter Schools Athletics Championships is also set for this school term.

“We have put aside our differences and there is an improved relationship between the two Ministries,” de Shong said.

Things between both Ministries came to a head in September 2007 when directives were given debarring personnel from one Ministry from going into the schools, with a reciprocal action taken by the other.

Among the programmes stalled during the impasse were the Kiddy Cricket, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation Schools’ Programme. There was also no Cricket, Table Tennis nor Basketball competitions, during the 2007-2008 academic year.

But things have gone full circle.

“We are serious about the business of sports,” de Shong assured.

The Deputy CEO said that two meetings, one in December and one last Wednesday, have helped to fine tune each Ministry’s role, through the protocol of the Memorandum of Understanding.

de Shong revealed that the re-birth of the Committee was integral to the administration of sports in the schools.

He said that the Committee, which has been dormant for several years, has broad based participation, as they seek to embrace the practice of inclusion.

de Shong noted that the Committee included the Education Officers with responsibility for Physical Education and Sports, Officers of the Department of Physical Education and Sports, officials of the Ministry of Health, National Sports Council, National Olympic Committee, among others.

The Deputy Chief said that part of his vision of the Committee is to work closely with the national associations and establish several sub-committees.

“It is needless we have a Netball competition and the Netball Association is not involved, for example. Let them work with us,” de Shong projected.

de Shong said it was also necessary to get things going in light of the fact that St. Vincent and the Grenadines will host the 2009 Windward Island Secondary Schools Games.

“We have six months to plan and we need to put on a good show”, de Shong concluded.