Urgently needed, a collective approach to national sports development

For the past several years this column has focused on the many critical issues plaguing the development of sports at the national level.
It remains important for us o maintain this focus if we are serious about sports and not merely paying lip service.
This Columnist has already addressed the extensive politicking that has been a characteristic feature of the operations of the National Sports Council (NSC) regardless of which party is in government and of the negative impact this has on the development process.

Genuine development
It has always been maintained by economists the world over that genuine national development is about people. It is about improving the quality of life of the people in a particular country.
If we accept the foregoing definition of development then we must agree that sports and physical education are integral to the national development process since these twin disciplines aim to facilitate the betterment of the individual human being to help bring him/her to the fullness of being. However this is not always perceived to be the case by most governments in the Caribbean.
For the most part it is commonplace for many of our governments in the region to simply place Sport as an adjunct to some long-winded ministerial portfolio. Often it is the case that the other components of the designated ministerial portfolio is considered by the same government as being of much greater importance to governance of the society.
In St Vincent and the Grenadines for example, we have had the sport portfolio attached at one time to Community Development and Youth Affairs. On another occasion it was with the Ministry of Education and Youth. It is now with the Ministry of Tourism and Youth.
Interestingly, in every case the Sport component has always been the last in the nomenclature. More than this every annual budget reveals that sport does not get the attention it deserves. It is a reflection of the low level of priority given to sports in St Vincent and the Grenadines by successive political administrations.
While in the recent past we have been given the impression that there is an interest in sport here and more particularly in sports tourism, the reality shows something different.
It seems that the different political regimes are content with raising much ado about nothing in their respective manifestos knowing that at election time the masses are all committed to this or that political party and that the document can be used to highlight the level of commitment of the particular party to sport and national development.
There has in reality been little or not attempts at making the vital link between developments in sport and the broader national development.
Had this been the case we may well not have had the haphazard approach that now has us hustling to complete some infrastructural developments in time for the Cricket World Cup 2007.