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Sports against crime


Several attempts at putting a dent on the rising incidence of crime here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,have been made. Peace Marches, Seminars on parenting, a National Commission on Crime Prevention, most recently the “Pan Against Crime”, among others, have been initiated.{{more}}

Whilst there is no one solution to the issue, it is my candid view that it is time that a concerted effort to have Sports added to the crime fighting tool kit is made.

Whilst my proposition may not be a novel one, its significance gathers momentum as other alternatives are seemingly failing or are not attracting the appeal.

Not down playing the other avenues, Sports provides a more practical approach towards addressing the predicament that is hurting all of us.

It has always been known that sports is healthy fun and the various disciplines have the ability to attract a wider cross section of participation. Sports span the school, the community, and extend to the nation. Sports are multi-dimensional. Apart, Sports cut through the age, ethnic and social barriers.

In addition, sports are more than just competition, but allow for social interaction.

The growing economic impact of Sports worldwide is amazing and has become a viable form of employment for many.

The current Stanford 20/20 Tournament taking place in Antigua shows how impacting Sports has been on the economic landscape of the region. Extravagant the prize monies may seem, they, however, provide an impetus and incentive for those who would have otherwise been scraping the barrel in other regional competitions.

Moreso, it would be interesting to see the crime figures around the region on the nights that the matches are being televised. As at times, it seems that everyone is glued to their television sets taking in the matches.

It has been widely documented that in the football crazy South American country of Brazil, there is always a significant drop in the crime and birth rate whenever the World Cup is being played.

And you can guess the reason. After a recent athletics meet, I chose to ask the athletes what they did on that night. The responses were unanimous; they all said they went to bed early. So you see, No Time For Crime or any act of deviance.

A look at the few available playing fields across the state on afternoons tells the story of the importance of sports to the national psyche. Or Just announce a football fixture and you are sure that many would throng the venue. Sports’ contribution cannot be downplayed or be resigned to a state of insignificance.

This is not to say that athletes are saints and are not prone to fall through the cracks as many have done, but the provision of facilities and opportunities to release their pent energies are vital.

But this road mapped out for a national thrust towards a comprehensive Sports Initiative must not be a partisan political one, only seen as a conduit to gather votes at election time. Instead, it must be a fashioned initiative at national development.

Maybe the aforementioned initiatives lack of support must have stemmed from being purely a politically prudent decision, while the other strands are left dangling in space, with absolutely no synergy.

Sports have surpassed their objective of being merely activities to pass time. The concept of Sports Tourism and its attached benefits have assumed greater relevance. National sportsmen and women are now great marketing tools for tourism and the general advertisement media of some countries. So, too, are national teams, as any achievement shoots the entire nation into focus. So why the hold up by the powers that be to move towards this end here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines?

On a trip to St.Kitts and Nevis some time ago, I was greeted at the airport with a photo of Kim Collins, that country’s star athlete. In fact the welcome sign read, “Welcome to St. Kitts and Nevis – The Home of Kim Collins”.

That said a lot of how that country reveres someone who did them proud at an international track meet.

Don’ t we have anyone that we can pay similar homage to? Can’t we find some national athlete who our young people can idolize or at least make somewhat of a national sporting icon?

I am certain that the search would not be a difficult undertaking.

Reiterating that Sports are not the end it all to the problem of crime, but could be complementary to the other initiatives taken such as the much touted “Wellness Revolution”. One cannot be divorced from the other. Let us all start now to put Sports in the centrality of our development.

And fighting a crime of a different nature are the residents of the Sion Hill community who have to put up with the “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.