Here in St Vincent and the Grenadines sporting organisations and sports journalists have long lamented the seeming lack of interest on the part of governmental authorities in national wellness. There has always been and continues to be a tendency on the part of governmental authorities here to suggest to the nation that the mere construction of sorting facilities constitutes an interest in the development of a healthier nation.
The current administration has fallen in line with previous governments in ensuring that the National Sports Council is constituted and functions as an essential political arm of the ruling regime, focused on the provision of facilities in places that are consistent with the objectives of acquiring more political support and a larger number of votes from the electorate.
The nation of St Vincent and the
Grenadines has always sought to make headway in sport. The National Olympic Committee in 1992 lead a move among national sporting organisations that eventually yielded what is today this country's National Sports Policy, a document that gathers dust on the desks of many an administrator. The average Vincentian will find great difficulty in remembering any instance when the Prime Minister of this country made reference to this document or its primary components since taking office. Had he done so he would have recognised the eagerness of the primary stakeholders to elevate physical education and sports to a critical pillar of genuine national development. Instead we have been treated to the soppy references of the Caribbean civilisation and its Vincentian components with many still uncertain of precisely what this is intended to do for the improvement in the quality of life of the average Vincentian.
The year 2005 was declared as the International Year of Physical Education and Sport. Where were the good Dr Gonsalves, the Minister of Sport and the Minister of Health at the time of this declaration? Did they not hear the clarion call of the United Nations?
The truth is that what we are seeing and hearing from the leadership following the Caricom meeting seems no more than a warmed-over attempt at utilising charisma to distract Vincentians from the many ills plaguing Vincentian society.
Just as we have seen with the so-called education revolution, we are likely to have government shower resources, perhaps more foreign than local, into giving the nation the impression that we have suddenly realised that smoking kills, that alcohol is a burden on society, that obesity is a blight and that we should do more to ensure that the nutritional component of what our children eat is appropriate to their improved health status.