In the previous edition of The News newspaper dated 30th December 2006, we began a closer analysis of the Budget presentation in respect of what is in the offing for sport in St Vincent and the Grenadines. In this edition we continue our analysis.
The Prime Minister and Minister of Finance stated in his Budget presentation that: "Never in the history of St Vincent and the Grenadines has Government spent such enormous sums on sporting facilities or carried out such a comprehensive programme on sports development for young people."One is not quite sure of his intention here.
It was clear that the Cato administration did not do much for sport but left the Arnos Vale Sports Complex as his contribution after much urging from the Cricket Association at the time. We are also aware of the many criticisms levelled at James Mitchell’s administration even though it left numerous hard courts spread across the country, developed the Triangle Tennis facility with a children’s play pen at Richmond Hill and worked with the Taiwanese to develop the National Tennis Centre at Villa.
The boast of how much is being spent is inconsequential if it is not well directed and one cannot be satisfied that we can claim that under this administration the expenditures on sporting facilities are any less politically motivated than with previous administrations.
There is absolutely no sense in boasting that this Government is putting more into sports than any previous administration. That is no reason to boast since the inputs are not making any significant dent in the needs of sportspeople in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Additionally, it is a truism that previous administrations seemed lacking in their understanding of the critical role that sport can and must play in the development of society.
But we must also recognise that the NGO sector, globally, joined many a Government in underestimating the potential of sports in the broader national development process. For many years this sector refused to involve itself in funding sporting activities while claiming to be committed to genuine community development. Now all of that has changed and the NGO sector is finally waking up to the reality of sport. Now this sector has begun to see sport as the vehicle it must be for community development.