August 7, 2009
Windward Islands School Games in review Pt. 1

The 2009 Canadian Bank Note (CBN) Winlott Inc. Windward Islands School Games is now history.

There were of course worthy winners – joint champions St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada. There were also sore losers as well as those who did not give a hoot about what transpired. Yes, as host we must be satisfied that the Games came to a successful end and that was great.{{more}} But there were the ups and there were the downs. However, the ups outweighed the downs.

The Good

It was a good boost for the host to come first after occupying the last position for some time among the four competing territories. But it was ironic that this country was able to be victorious at the multi-discipline event at a time when most of the local schools’ competitions, which acted as fore runners, were at best, make shift.

Nevertheless, winners are to be saluted and given their places in history. Winning, though, can be like cologne, its fragrance covers up the stench that previously permeated the air. So let us experience the high now, knowing that it is not a true reflection of the state of schools sports here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The triumph must though, be used as a fillip to start to get things right, and we should not accept the relatively mediocre performance as our highest standard of achievements.

It was also a good public manifestation that officials of the Ministry of Education and the Division of Sports were on the same page, as they pulled their weight and expertise, erasing all notions of sabotage and belied that a rift still exists between the two parties. Let us continue in this rich of vein of co-operation.

The Games was blessed in the main with good weather. Except for a couple of matches in Basketball and a few in Volleyball, the sun and moon shone on the proceedings.

Too, there was evidence that the organizers placed much emphasis on security. The presence of law enforcement officers gave a sense of comfort, but for me at times, it seemed to be an over kill, with some officers’ service weapons exposed.

That though, can be balanced by the anticipation of the games’ organisers that because the events were free of charge, the undesirables would perhaps have made themselves present. But all is well that ends well, as there were not any upheavals, and the Games went unscathed. The students in general were well behaved.

The camaraderie among the students fostered the ideals of the spirit of the Games. The respective representatives made good verbal banter through reworked songs and melodies, which exhibited the creative energies of our young people.

The Bad

As host, some of the local team’s management must explain the wisdom of giving the athletes the option of returning home on the last day of the competition, Saturday. The result was that some returned to the closing ceremony late while others never came at all.

But is it true that very few members of the Vincentian management team were present at the camp site especially at night? Or did they prefer the comfort of their homes? With authority comes the corresponding responsibility.

Again, all is well that ends well.

The Ugly

The Games was not without its few ugly scenes. The verbal tirade that the Dominican football coach and some of his players unleashed on match officials close to the end of the SVG versus Dominica football match, was definitely one of the black spots.

Some of the expletives that emanated from the youngsters made me wonder if I were at a school function under the aegis of the Ministry of Education. Surely, it was improper education to my ear. Additionally, the dress code or lack thereof, of some of the athletes at the Closing Ceremony at the Methodist Church Hall last Saturday was indeed appalling and bordered closely on being despicable.

Of course, organisers and team managers must take the flack for not ensuring that all the students were appropriately attired.

Certainly, with representatives of the sponsors and the goodly Minister of Education, along with her senior staff members in attendance, it was not pleasant to their eyes.


Congratulations are in order to all those who contributed to make the Games a success it truly was, and, despite the slip ups, some inevitable, it showed that we as a people can do good and even better.

No kudos though, for the continued presence for that “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.