More Lip than Service to Sport – Part II

The National Sports Council
The 2007 Estimates makes what amounts to a nominal contribution to the National Sports Council, NSC, of $410,000.00, the vast majority of which seems to go towards the payment of salaries and wages, leaving little for the upgrading of the nation’s playing fields and even less for the preventive maintenance of the best sports facilities in the State. One has only to revisit the poor condition of much of the galvanise, toilets and other amenities within the Arnos Vale Sports Complex when the upgrading for the Cricket World Cup 2007 started to understand the extent of the absence of any preventive maintenance at this particular facility.
For many years the NSC has been hard pressed to deliver that which is expected of it as the primary institution for the development, upgrading and maintenance of sports facilities. The annual allocation does not meet expectations nor does it engender confidence on the part of the nation’s sports people.
The poor attention given to the playing field at Cumberland over the past several months seems to suggest that it was an important piece of political propaganda to aid in the accessing of votes in the North Leeward area for the general elections of 2006. Since then the field has been left so much out of the loop of the NSC’s activities that it has again achieved overgrown status.
The unfortunate reality is that the area is capable of holding a major playing facility with ample room for a range of additional options.
In this day and age one would have expected that the NSC would have established the necessary administrative and technical institutional framework for the effective decentralisation of its operations. That has not taken place and here again it is because of petty partisan politics. Sport goes beyond the narrow confines of partisan politics. I insisted on this in 2000 when calling on the Unity Labour Party, ULP, to desist from having national running sensation, Pamenos Ballantyne, on its political platforms. I declared then that national athletes belong, by definition to the people of the nation and not a political segment of it.
There are only a few Area Sports Committees in existence because of the hesitancy on the part of the NSC to allow the free development of such organisations with personnel who are of different political persuasions. In at least two of the existing Area Sports Committees the NSC had nothing to do with their establishment and hence they are beyond partisan politics, for the most part.