Sports Development ……………No Policy, No Progress (By Gilroy Ezi Hall)
November 9, 2016
It is the year 2035 and St Lucia finally wins a gold medal in Fencing at the Olympics . St Lucia’s representative, Jean Claude Perineau is of St Lucian parentage and was born and raised in Paris , France but attended High School and College in the USA. He was discovered by a member of the St Lucia Athletics Association during a tournament held in…………..
Okay…….Time to wake up and face reality.
This is never going to happen with our current approach to sports development. Our obsession with stagnation, our love for tradition and fear of change are all culprits in the kidnapping and assassination of Sports Development in St Lucia. While Grenada, Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines and the more successful Caribbean territories embrace change and alter their programmes, strategies and management styles we continue to hope that by some miracle we will become world beaters and Olympic champions……after all didn’t we produce Lavern Spencer, Darren Sammy and Johnson Charles with our current archaic, disillusioned, chaotic approach to sports development which is also void of any respect or appreciation for scientific principles and even the very athletes who we want to hail as champions. Stupidity, the offspring of ignorance and arrogance, continues to dictate the modus operandi for many of our sports development initiatives, while twin sister, mediocrity fuels the engines of those who navigate the efforts to provide what is supposedly vibrant sporting activity.
The greatest challenge to sports development in this country is the absence of policy which recognizes the importance of sports programmes, encourages mass participation, mandates the allocation of resources and values the need to utilize knowledgeable and well trained personnel in critical positions. Such policy must realize the following:
- Compulsory participation in school sports both at the competitive and recreational level
- The mandatory release from work, school or other commitments for officials, athletes and other sporting personnel to allow for participation in sporting activities especially national duty.
- A realistic budgetary allocation for sports at all levels including school sports, community programmes and national representation.
- Provision of training opportunities in the numerous fields relevant to the delivery of quality sports.
- Investment in and maintenance of modern sporting facilities at the community and national levels
- Significant and just recognition of and compensation to those who serve in the name of sports development.
Too many critical sporting decisions are being made at the whims and fancies of illegitimate sports administrators who lack the understanding, knowledge and interest to justify their actions. Sports development in St Lucia is no different from Russian roulette with the outcomes just as uncertain and as potentially detrimental. As long as there are no established standards to guide athlete recruitment and training, participation in competitive and recreational programmes, operations of administrative and officiating personnel and other key elements of sports development, we will not attain any significant progress. Success in sports will continue to be as elusive at worst and sporadic at best if we maintain an approach which fails to establish well defined and enforced policy. It’s like using a fork to share cake………it just doesn’t cut it!
WE NEED POLICY NOW!
Gilroy Ezi Hall
President St Lucia PE Teachers Association
Sports Coordinator SALCC