Keith Joseph

Olympism

by Keith Joseph

The 17th Commonwealth Games begin

Melbourne, Australia, has become more alive and exciting than has been the case perhaps since last hosting the Olympic Games several decades ago. The occasion this time around is the hosting of the Commonwealth Games, considered small by comparison to the prestigious Olympic Games.
Melbourne is a beautiful city steeped in sporting history.
The host venue of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and all of the days of track and field competition is the scenic and most renowned Melbourne Cricket Ground, popularly known to cricket aficionados as the MCG.
For many the MCG is a fitting indication of the extent to which the host, the City of Melbourne, is prepared to go to ensure that this 18th edition of the Commonwealth Games emerges as the best in the history of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).
Many visitors here are anxious to observe the manner in which the MCG has been transformed to accommodate a synthetic track and allow for the hectic track and field competition.

The centrality of sports in Vincentian society

In all of St Vincent and the Grenadines it may well prove difficult to find a single individual who has used the term, centrality, more than Mike Browne, now Minister Browne.
Of course, Browne appears to have emerged out of a particular political philosophical/ideological background that saw most things from the perspective of their centrality to the ultimate goal.
When Browne served as the Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, he used every public sports forum to pontificate on the centrality of sports to his government’s development strategy and the overall well being of Vincentians.
Browne’s tenure as Minister responsible for sport was relatively short-lived and was perhaps characterized by little or no movement in respect of realizing the centrality of sport to this nation’s development as so often proffered. The same can be said of Browne’s successor as Minister responsible for sports, Clayton Burgin.
An analysis of the ULP government’s performance in respect of the development of sports in St Vincent and the Grenadines and of its role in the broader national development process would reveal the same relatively putrid situation that it claims to have inherited from the previous regime and this, regardless of the useless manifesto promises banged to the nation from the pulpits of the political campaign at election time, on the centrality of sports.

National Physical Education Programme needed

At recent meeting with the Acting Director of Sports, I found it appropriate to recommend the establishment of a National Physical Education programme.
The intention here is to go beyond the introduction of Physical Education as an integral component of the curriculum by the Ministry of Education, to a programme that reaches the homes of everyone nation-wide.

Rationale
There is no shortage of examples of countries that have recognized the importance of establishing, implementing and monitoring National Physical Education programmes. Cuba, a Caribbean nation, has been to great lengths to use all possible media to encourage early and prolonged participation in physical education. Parents, by being involved in maintaining fitness are the best examples to their own children in this regard.
In Germany, a tremendous amount of research was conducted by the physical education and sports experts aimed at identifying the consequences of not having a national programme that encourages physical well-being.

CWC 2007 and Caribbean leadership

The recent announcement by Barbados’ Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, of his own ascendancy to the leadership of that country’s CWC 2007 Preparatory Committee should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following developments or lack thereof in the region in respect of the preparations for this massive undertaking. 

Needed: A Sports Facilities’ policy

For several years this Column has addressed the thorny issue of the poor state of the sports facilities in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Of course there is also a problem with regard to the absence of some facilities altogether.
There are a few exceptions in terms of sports facilities.
Of course the older folk will recall the existence of the King George V Recreational facilities before that area was transformed into the Arnos Vale Airport, now the E.T. Joshua Airport.

Gunny Hinds’ removal – Victimisation or not?

On Friday 3rd February 2006 Stanley ‘Gunny’ Hinds, on secondment to the National Sports Council (NSC) since Otis Jack (teacher on secondment to the same institution) left local shores for UWI, received a letter indicating that he had to return to his substantive post of coach in the Division of Sports, in what is now the Ministry of Tourism, Youth and Sport.
The letter indicated that Gunny had to report to his substantive post on Monday 6th February 2006.

West Indies Cricket…again

The recent announcement that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has decided to evaluate coach Bennett King is not in and of itself strange. What is strange seems to be the way in which the WICB has gone about arri8ving at this decision and what is says about the overall modus of the organisation.

The decision
In the past week the cricket news around the region was less about the current Carib Cup Tournament than the decision of the WICB to have a team of people do an investigative analysis of the performance of coach of the West Indies team, Australian Bennett King.

Faux Pas or Sheer incompetence?

The news of four young Vincentians being unable to take up scholarships in Venezuela in January 2006 is particularly disturbing and calls into question the competence of those in authority here.

Background
In 2004 the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines submitted a document titled, Corporate Plans. In this document, under the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, pages 36-39, the Mission Statement reads:
“To provide all persons of the state, especially Youth, with opportunities appropriate to their developmental needs through the provision of quality Education

The Trump Tournament and SVG Sports Tourism

Our journalists were once apparently characterized by the Prime Minister, before some of their own members, as chattering nabobs. When one peruses the print media of Friday 13th January, it is easy to see why the Prime Minister may have allowed himself the political latitude to so refer to members of the nation’s journalist fraternity.
The News, The Vincentian and The Searchlight newspapers all seemed anxious to break the news of high-flying billionaire, almost maverick, Donald Trump, with him million-dollar Gold Tournament set for the Grenadines isle of Canouan. Each of the newspapers made an interesting presentation.
The Vincentian newspaper simply carried the text in full as a story coming from Manhattan, New York. It changed nothing and gave no credit to the source.

More development – less talk

The heady season of electoral politics is now over despite the ugly rumblings that continue in small clusters around St Vincent and the Grenadines. The Christmas season, once a celebration of the birth of Christ now transformed into near-hedonism is also at an end.
The year, 2006 is with us and there is every reason for us to want to go forward with some sense of direction based on critical analysis of where we have come from and where we are.
In St Vincent and the Grenadines the continued approach to sports seems almost estranged from the concerns usually associated with genuine development.