Admittedly some of the regional countries where Cuban coaches have gone have had some teething problems in so far as some of the copaches were initially not very good. They local sports bodies complained and the weak coaches were taken back and better ones sent. This does not mean however that we should stay our hand in respect of seeking assistance from the Cubans in the realm of sports.
Sport & bilateralism
This columnist has always maintained since The News newspaper came into existence that we can always benefit from bilateral agreements in sport to the extent that governments here are willing to engage in meaning discussions with national sporting bodies in a spirit of genuine development.
The Vincentian government ought to have been so organized in respect of its understanding of the sport development process and of its role within the broader developmental objectives of the society that bilateral agreements in respect of sport would have been an essential component of almost every foreign affairs foray.
We should have had packages, however small, ready top discuss with the Taiwanese, the Mexicans, the Cubans, the Venezuelans and whoever else, in respect of particular sporting needs of our respective governing bodies.
While the Taiwanese did give us the National Tennis Centre, largely on the initiative of the Tennis Association here and because of the importance of the sport to the then Charge dAffaires, the governments here have done precious little by way of establishing firm long term arrangements with them for the continued development of the sport in this country. We have not even engaged in discussions with the Taiwanese in respect of ways in which they can assist us in particular sporting developments in which they are strong.
Our discussions with the Mexicans seemed to have touched everything other than sport, much as is the case with the Cubans. While we hear boasts of a student or two doing physical education in Cuba, we are yet to engage in a real discourse with national sporting associations relative to their personnel, equipment and training needs so that they can better themselves at the competitive, technical, coaching and administrative levels in the different sporting disciplines.
Mexico has excellent facilities for high altitude training for cyclists and distance runners and may well have much to offer in respect of football yet our government has not touched any of this in discussions with the Mexicans.