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.
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 academic, technical/vocational, oral, physical and sports which will equip them with the values, attitudes, knowledge and skills necessary for creating and maintaining a productive, innovative and harmonious Society.
Happily, Mission Statements are usually highly generalized statements of a particularly long-term nature such that it remains almost delightfully vague.
The same document, Corporate Plans 2004, only mentions the matter of sports once. It is mentioned as the fifth strength of the Ministrys SWOT analysis. The document states that one of the Ministrys strengths is The availability of a Draft Sports Policy. In not a single instance does the document mention Physical Education.
Rather interestingly it seems that the government forgot its own commitment to physical education and sport to such an extent that these twin disciplines did not in any way feature in its Corporate Plans.
The written word is often an ominous thing since it often speaks volumes.
In the case of the current government then, its manifestos dating back to 1998 are all threadbare in respect of a commitment to physical education. Perhaps the regime has always had a very poor, backward of understanding of and appreciation for physical education as opposed to sports.
The leadership of the Ministry of Education, over the years, has pussy-footed about the physical education programme in the overall development strategy for St Vincent and the Grenadines.
National Sports Policy
It was the National Olympic Committee (NOC) here that began the process of drafting a National Sports Policy. The NOC convened several sessions of stakeholders in St Vincent and the Grenadines National Sports Associations, Ministry Officials, the media, Chamber of Commerce, knowledge persons and invited a representative from the Commonwealth Sports Development Programme (CSDP) out of the regional office them based in Barbados, to facilitate broad-based discussion on the Sports Policy.