A recent decision said to have been taken by the Antigua and Barbuda Netball Association in collaboration with the Caribbean Netball Association (CNA) with regards to the hosting of the 2023 ECCB/OECS International Netball Series from September 29 – October, 10, 2023, could very well force St. Vincent and the Grenadines not to defend its ECCB/OECS International Netball Series title, won in 2022 in Roseau, Dominica.
A well-placed source close to the Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Sports, said according to information reaching him, “the Antigua and Barbuda Netball Association at meetings with the management of Jolly Harbour Beach Resort reached an agreement that all participating countries would be housed at the resort…”; this will present an added cost to the participating countries.
Regional netball sources pointed out that it was a decision supported by the executive of the CNA based on the information received from the Antigua and Barbuda Netball Association, that no suitable option was found to be within the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank’s (ECCB) sponsorship.
This followed a CNA meeting where it was discussed that the increase in travel costs within the region makes competing regularly a huge constraint. The added cost per country is US$6,692.00 for accommodation; in addition each country has to finance its airfare, and pay the umpires’ fee of US$2,700.00.
No official from the Caribbean Netball Association was prepared to comment on the matter when contacted. However a source close to the CNA said on Tuesday, July 18, that the aim is to reduce the logistical problems associated with the transportation of teams from various places of accommodation.
The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank’s sponsorship is to cover accommodation and two meals per day per player and official. However the CNA, at short notice is said to have decided to go with accommodation that will require each OECS country to come up with the additional amount for the 15-member contingent to stay at an all inclusive hotel.
An official from the Antigua Ministry of Sports said the Jolly Harbour Beach Resort is the proposed games village, which the CNA wants to create.
President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association, Natasha Baptiste, when contacted on this issue said the decision has placed the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association in a very difficult position, and has not been taken into consideration by the organizers. She however, declined to comment further at this time.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Vincy Jewels is the only OECS state which competed at the recently concluded 24th Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador, winning bronze at the inaugural Netball tournament there. The Association also is financing participation of the Junior Vincy Jewels at the 7th edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games at the Haseley Crawford Stadium in Trinidad and Tobago from August 4-11, 2023.
Also declining comment was Caribbean Netball Association president Rufina Paul when contacted.
At a meeting on July 17, 2023 at the National Netball Centre with the members of the national netball squad, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association president Natasha Baptiste outlined the situation to the players, following which the players made a number of suggestions, pointing out that they the players are prepared to assist in whatever way possible.
Having won the bronze medal at the historic netball tournament at the 24th Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador, the players are keen to defend their ECCB/OECS International Netball Series title, but are cognizant of the financial challenges facing the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association, as it seeks to implement a number of key developmental programmes in the coming weeks and months.