Despite the fact that the reality of the dominance of football as the most popular sport in the Caribbean now flies in their faces literally every day of their lives our political leaders trumpet their emphasis on cricket, wasting already scarce resources in the process.
The travesty of our political and social reality in the Caribbean is that our leaders are prone to copying and claiming innovation. They take on what other countries have done and lay claim to creativity. This is indeed the case with the so-called ‘wellness revolution’. It is not original.
For decades sports leaders and sports academics have beaten the path to their governments’ offices armed with solid, well researched data in respect of the crucial role of sports to the human condition. They have provided weighty evidence that participation in sport facilitates wellness, discipline, improved attention, increased productivity and impact positively the national economy.
Governments in Europe, Asia and Oceania, have listened to the pleadings of their sports leaders and academics while in the Caribbean our political leaders remained convinced that sport was all frivolity and a waste of valuable resources. This thinking may also have impacted the way in which funding from donor agencies were channelled to everything other than sport.
Of course the donor agencies have long since changed their own focus and have taken to the support of sporting activities given their own understanding of what sport has done to the peoples in the countries from which they come.
In St Vincent and the Grenadines wellness is mere talk. The Prime Minister may do well to take a leaf out of Fidel Castro’s book. Fidel took the tough stance that in order to impact the fight against cancer he would lead the charge by not smoking. Many doubted his capacity to do so since like Che Guevara who fought alongside him in the mountains of Cuba in the 1950s, he was always seen in pictures with a cigar in his mouth. Fidel stopped smoking. Of course the major contradiction for Fidel and perhaps for those who were engaged in the fight against cancer globally is the fact that he never stopped his enterprises from producing and marketing one of the sources of cancer, the very cigars he once smoked.