More lip than service to Sport – Part I

It seems a common thing with Prime Ministers in this region that once in office they seek to ensure that their own respective constituencies emerge from the lower order on the development scale with some dispatch. At times, of course, this action causes much discord within the society. Unfortunately, such discord does not always cause concern among some of our leaders.
It is more important, it seems, for us to learn that there is a source of the funds and that it is from Venezuela than a matter of engaging in the systematic development of our facilities.
One is certain that Vincentians in sport will be happier knowing that time and money are spent to upgrade fewer facilities but to a level deemed acceptable to the regional and/or international bodies for competition purposes. This may take a longer time but it seems better than seeking to tinker with several facilities to a limited extent and impress the masses for the purpose of accessing votes.
There are times when politicians must learn to trust the masses.
Politicians all too often have a rather simplistic appreciation for sports people. They see them as too naïve to understand when they are being paid mere lip service rather than be provided with substance. Too often they are offered the crumbs that fall from the master’s table and are expected to be grateful for small mercies.

National Stadium
The Budget presentation further stated: “Government remains committed to the development of a modern stadium at Diamond. A contract was signed earlier this year for the redesign of the National Stadium and thi
s phase will be implemented in 2007. Actual construction will begin in 2008.”
One of the platform items that catapulted the Unity Labour Party into political office was the organisation’s commitment that once in office work will begin on the construction of a national stadium. This was one of the more prominent features of the Youth manifesto which targeted the young voters of this country.
As expected the nation’s youths were eager about the prospect that finally the realisation of their long held dream was a possibility.
Not long after assuming office the Prime Minister returned from a visit to Libya where he received an allocation of US$1.5m towards the construction of the national stadium. Unfortunately, the more astute analysts would have recognised that the Prime Minister was totally oblivious to what is involved in the construction of a national stadium. He indicated to members of the Stadium Committee at the time that the US$1.5m amounted to almost EC$4.5m and that would take us almost quarter of the way towards the realisation of the Project. I, as a member of the Committee at the time, quickly informed the Prime Minister of his gross underestimation of the cost of the project.
The establishment of a National Stadium Committee appointed by the Government saw the inclusion of the presidents of the Athletics and Football Federations since their respective sporting disciplines would be the primary users of the facility.
The invasion of narrow petty partisan politics soon saw a change in this policy. The unceremonious removal of the president of Team Athletics SVG was soon followed by the resignation in disgust over the former action by the president of the SVG Football Federation.