May 14, 2021
Will sports be a major casualty again?

The procrastination of health authorities here, the lax approach by the major decision makers, may well see St Vincent and the Grenadines having a lock-down on national sporting activities for the rest of 2021.

Already for the year, we have not had many major sporting competitions being hosted, save and expect swimming, bits and pieces of developmental meets in track and field, table tennis and tennis.

Imminent, though, is the Vincy Premier League 3.0, which is set to bowl off this Saturday, May 15 at the Arnos Vale Playing Field.

In light of the double impact, namely the coronavirus pandemic and the active state of our La Soufriere volcano, the two have affected sporting activities here in St Vincent and the Grenadines in many ways. And by extension, the social, economic, psychological, political aspects of the Vincentian landscape.

Hence, for a multiplicity of reasons, there must be a greater level of seriousness in the battle against the pandemic, especially as a consequence of the dislocation caused by the volcanic activities.

Therefore, the dynamics of Vincentians’ lives have been exacerbated since April 8, when the evacuation order was given.

Unfortunately, as our attention shifted towards softening the blow from the effects of the violent nature of La Soufriere volcano, most Vincentians have sought to drop their guards.

So, as we look northwards, the fight with the coronavirus seems to be heading south.

This assessment by this column cannot be denied, as regularly there are reported positive cases of the coronavirus.

Not apportioning blame exclusively, but there are some worrying signs emerging.

When we look at Heritage Square, especially on Friday afternoons, it paints a picture of pre-Covid-19.

This is coupled with a significant reduction in the wearing of masks. Likewise, there is a reluctance or nonchalance on the part of members of the local constabulary who have seemingly abandoned their posts, and are no longer enforcing that persons do so.

Added, we are noticing a rise in the numbers at funerals, at shops, bars, and some restaurants have gone back to indoor dining.

Of note too, with the temporary re-distribution of the population on the mainland, because of the explosive eruptions, there are increased numbers in some communities.

Unfortunately, minus any stringent measures which will ensure mandatory testing and other safeguards against the spread of the coronavirus, fear looms large that should another spike take place, we can safely say goodbye for sports for the rest of 2021.

Rewinding to 2020, at the start of the pandemic, most sporting activities went on pause.

It was not until the second half of the year, when some sort of sporting normalcy resumed.

This led to much optimism for 2021, until a rise in coronavirus cases during December curtailed those hopes.

The sporting life of Vincentians has become uncertain as there is always that constant reminder that because of our callous, cavalier and oblivious disposition at times and the absence of intent by some of our decision-makers, our health situation can take a turn for the worse at short notice.

Whilst St Vincent and the Grenadines play with fire, some of our regional neighbours are able to have sporting activities.

Grenada, for example, is going full steam ahead with their sports programme and competitions, so much that our senior men’s national football team will use the Kirani James Stadium in Grenada on June 8, to play its “home” match versus Cuba in Group C of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.

The ball is firmly in the court of Vincentians at all levels, as each one has to play his/her part in fighting the pandemic and keep all aspects of our lives open to what we have been accustomed to prior to March 2020.

We have seen a stop-start effect every time there is a spike or decrease in the Covid-19 cases. This consistent uncertainty leaves everyone in a quandary and jeopardizes St Vincent and the Grenadines’ sportsmen and women to plan strategically for future events.

Hopefully, those higher-ups can bite the bullet and make the right decisions that suit the best interest of Vincentians.

This column awaits what unfolds in the upcoming weeks.