Connell squashes the NLA and NSC
August 20, 2010
Connell squashes the NLA and NSC

Head of the Grassroots Tennis Club Grant Connell has questioned the level of sponsorship the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Squash Association has been able to obtain from the National Lotteries Authority to host the 18th Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Senior Squash Championships taking place here.{{more}}

The local Squash Association received sponsorship of $75,000 from the National Lotteries Authority, the title sponsors of the tournament.

But Connell, at the Closing Ceremony of the inaugural Grassroots Free Summer Tennis Programme last Friday at the Haddon Hotel Tennis Courts at Murray’s Road, lashed out at the National Lotteries Authority (NLA) and the National Sports Council (NSC).

“Can anyone explain how $75,000 can be given to a marginal sport like Squash?” Connell asked.

“To receive $75,000, one has to ask who receives what,” Connell further questioned.

“We must not use the National Lotteries Authority as cash cow for persons to reach higher heights,” Connell asserted.

Boxing bare-knuckled, Connell referred to the leadership of both the National Lotteries Authority and the National Sports Council as “puppets”.

“The National Sports Council and the National Lottery are most crucial institutions in the development of sports here, and you cannot have puppets leading them,” Connell, a former President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tennis Association, opined.

He hinted at possible nepotism and other forms of patronage in the Squash deal, while Tennis experiences difficulty in getting sponsorship through the two institutions.

“Your guess is as good as mine, as to where most of the teams would be staying,” Connell, a lawyer by profession said.

National sporting associations seeking funding must first submit their annual programme of activities to the NSC, which then makes a requisition to the NLA.

Connell is asking for an explanation of the level of sponsorship given to Squash, compared with the NLA’s discontinuation of the transportation allowance for students from the Pamelus Burke Primary School who attend Tennis sessions at Grassroots on Saturdays.

“But this ship sails without the National Lotteries or the National Sports Council,” Connell stated emphatically.

Connell though, called for those in authority to put all personalities behind in their operations, for the betterment of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

He used the occasion to thank all the persons and firms who have thus far helped in the progress of the Grassroots establishment.

Connell specifically thanked brothers Casper and Bertram Da Silva for the use of their courts.

The Grassroots Tennis operations officially opened on February 20 this year, offering free Tennis instructions to young persons who cannot afford to have a personal coach or to pay court fees. (RT)