Challenges for Sports in 2006

The New Year has only just begun and already every sporting organization in this country is confronted with numerous challenges, several of which may well be almost insurmountable.

National Sports Policy
Perhaps the first major challenge confronting sports organizations in St Vincent and the Grenadines in 2006 is that which emanates from the National Sports Policy.
Initially the National Sports Policy was developed in the 1990s by the National Olympic Committee (NOC) in tandem with the Commonwealth Sports Development Programme (CSDP), national sports associations, the media, the private sector and other interested parties. The first document took almost two years before going to Cabinet and was eventually implemented. The National Sports Policy underwent some measure of review in 2001 under the new administration at the National Sports Council.
The truth is that no government has as yet done enough for those involved in sports in this country to be convinced that it is serious about sports such that it has sought to implement the National Sports Policy.
The National Sports Policy remains a fanciful document gathering dust in the drawers of the government officials who are responsible for sports in this country.
In St Vincent and the Grenadines there is no national sports and physical education agenda. The Ministries of Sport, Education, Health and the Environment, Agriculture and Tourism appear to operate, in relation to sport, as tough they have no idea of the way in which they are integral to the overall well being of the populace together and to the emergence of a national culture of sports and physical education.
Our politicians continue to spout nonsense about sports and physical education without any real understanding of the importance of these twin disciplines to the determination of who we are as a people.
While successive governments have boasted of their relationship with Cuba, Taiwan and elsewhere, none has really advocated the establishment of scholarships for training our athletes in the areas where Cuba is strong – boxing, athletics and volleyball.
Only in the past two weeks have some exchange been advocated from the athletics fraternity as well as from the National Olympic Committee on behalf of some of its affiliates, to get some discussion going at the diplomatic level for this type of relationship to be developed with the Cubans.
Essentially successive governments have been decidedly backward in their failure to see sports as an integral part of any fraternal relationships such that we can actually benefit from useful changes at the level of athletes and coaches.