Finally, finally, the Local Organising Committee for the Cricket World Cup 2007 (CWC2007) in St Vincent and the Grenadines has officially handed over the sports facilities that were under its charge to the National Sports Council, the body with the mandate to manage the sports facilities of the nation.
Interestingly, the official handing over took place under a shroud of secrecy. Perhaps this was the best thing that could have happened. Had it been a media event the two organisations would have found great difficulty in explaining why it took so long.
The St Vincent and the Grenadines Local Organising Committee (LOC) for CWC2007 is perhaps the longest serving such organisation in the history of cricket anywhere in the world.
That an LOC could only have handed over the facilities two years after the conclusion of the event for which it was established must stand as a record in any aspect and must be reflective of just how much we continue to be retrogressive in our dealings with sport and sport development.
The LOC appears to have had responsibility, among other things, for the rehabilitation work on Arnos Vale # 1 and # 2, the Sion Hill and Stubbs playing fields.
During the period of extensive work undertaken at the four aforementioned facilities the respective communities were called upon to desist from using them since this would have hindered progress. Now that the LOC has handed over the facilities it is important to examine their current status from a critically clinical perspective.
Arnos Vale Sports Complex
The Arnos Vale Sports Complex houses the Arnos Vale # 1 and # 2 playing fields. During the preparatory exercise for the CWC2007 one got the impression that the two playing fields were being accorded the same measure of attention in respect of the surfaces and the turf wicket.
There was extensive work done on both playing surfaces with loads and loads of bay sand used in the mix that was thrown on the ground for the grass to be developed.
It was no surprise to any of the sports enthusiasts to soon find that the attention paid to the two arenas was significantly different. Arnos Vale # 1 was treated with ‘kids gloves’ while Arnos Vale # 2 was treated as something that was definitely second class in standing. Thus it was that there seemed to have been no qualms on the part of the leadership to readily utilise Arnos Vale 2 as the ideal place to locate the overlay during the ‘goat cook’ matches played in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Vincentian sporting enthusiasts were very critical and correctly so, when they saw what was being done to Arnos Vale # 2 after the expensive and extensive work that had been done in preparing the arena.
The end result was that inside, Arnos Vale # 1 was something of a mixed bag. The irrigation system was installed seemingly with little consideration to the fact that athletics also takes place at the venue. Even now it is a challenge to lay out a track without running the risk of having some of the athletes finding their lanes severely hampered by the presence of the covers for the irrigation system. The extremities of the arena inside never received the treatment it deserved and there are parts on the eastern side that seem more consistent with the neighbouring beach than with a sports facility.
On the inside, too, the grass remains inconsistent. Due diligence not having been practised has meant that the grass surface is a motley lot. There are several varieties growing all over the arena which makes it extremely difficult for anyone to feel satisfied that we have done better than what existed hitherto in respect of this facility, except perhaps where drainage is concerned.
Whoever conceived of planting trees in front of the new Players’ Pavilion must not have given much thought to the type of trees used and hence, not long from now we are likely to find that they either have to be replaced altogether or be so pruned as to render them useless. Their rapid growth means that soon these trees would hinder the clear view of the occupants of the facility. The course of action required now would be that the existing plants be removed and different types of plants be allowed to grow there instead; plants that would not necessarily grow to a level that would obscure the view of the occupants of the pavilion.
On the outside of Arnos Vale # 1 funding seems to have prevented the completion of the established plan. The road has not been paved and the grasses were not planted to ensure the creation of an appropriate ambience at the facility.