The NLA should also have convened important meetings with the NSC and the Football Federation as well as any other organisations/federations that use the facility, relative to the use and maintenance of the Victoria Park and the Calendars of the Federations/organisations involved.
With Arnos Vale # 1 and # 2, Sion Hill and Stubbs Playing Fields allocated to Cricket for the CWC2007 it should be understood by all involved in sports that there would be a major crunch for access to playing fields that are of some acceptable level in terms of surfaces and amenities. Unfortunately there has been little recognition of the foregoing by those responsible for the management of sporting facilities in the state.
The Prime Minister
The Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves has had to intervene for and on behalf of Football on a number of occasions. The most recent intervention that allowed for the use of the Victoria Park on Friday last should therefore have come as no surprise.
What is surprising is that the NLA would have allowed it
self to be backed into a corner where its decision in respect of the use of Victoria Park by the Football Federation had to be overturned by the Prime Minister.
Incidentally, the overturning of the decision came on the day that Vincy Heat was returning from Barbados where it had earned the right to the Digicel Cup Finals scheduled for Trinidad and Tobago in January 2007.
The Prime Minister should not have allowed himself to be in this role of the one who had the authority to overrule the NLA relative to Football’s access to the Victoria Park since such a decision paints a bad light of the NLA, the body in which the same Prime Minister had placed confidence some time ago relative to the development, maintenance and management of the facility.
In many Caribbean societies it is common to find the political leader, be he/she Prime Minister or President, engaging in micro management of a sort that makes a mockery of the political system.
It is unfortunate that the system here works in such a manner that simple matters such as the accessing of playing fields has to reach the desk of a Prime Minister. It is nonsense that a Prime Minister has to become embroiled in the trifling matter of having the nation’s Football Federation accessing the Victoria Park.
It is also unfortunate that the routing for redress by the Football Federation would have been directly to the Prime Minister rather than first through either the NSC or the Minister of Sport. There must be something radically wrong here.
The federation possesses an active calendar of activities some of which cannot always be predetermined. For example the success attained thus far in the Digicel Cup leaves the Federation with new demands for access to adequate training venues to prepare for each successive round. This is different from what would otherwise be on the calendar.
Football is to some extent like Cricket in so far as the annual calendar is concerned, being driven to some extent by forces/organisation outside the country. This fact must not, however, stop these organisations from ensuring that the annual calendars are prepared since very often the same facilities may be needed by each other as well as athletics and to some extent, Rugby.
There has to be an annual forum established by the NSC that would allow the early submission of the respective calendars of the different sporting associations in St Vincent and the Grenadines and dialogue amongst them to facilitate a harmonised approach to their fulfilment.
National sports associations must not always readily acquiesce to their respective regional bodies, they must also be able to dialogue with the latter to facilitate an understanding of the local situation that limits the access to facilities whenever external demands are made.
What obtains currently is that some associations which would have taken the time to prepare their local calendars are necessarily cajoled into making changes to accommodate the latter-day decisions of regional bodies impacting others here at home.