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All hands on deck still


The residents, the community leaders, and all well wishers of the Redemption Sharpes area have successfully navigated another rung and have mounted another hurdle, as they all seek to bring back that once vibrant community spirit.{{more}}

Riddled by acts of violence, that community became a hot bed of skirmishes, some of which even ended in fatality. It must have been an uneasy period, as all attention was on that Central Kingstown village.

Several attempts were made to quell the tension, some with limited success. But none has achieved greater success in helping to rebuild the image of that community than the recent Inter Village Football Competition.

Some confidence was salvaged over the past six weeks, as Football took centre stage and past hurts were momentarily pushed aside.

That is the power which sports, especially Football, has on gelling relations and soothing potentially explosive situations.

Kudos are in order for the organizers who were blunt in their approach and attempted to challenge the issues at hand, head on, through the medium of Football. They could have easily thrown their hands in the air and conceded defeat.

The competition, apart from providing a viable alternative from deviance, brought home the fact that social events such as these help to raise people’s tolerance levels.

The emphasis placed on the young footballers and targetting their efforts and achievements are steps in the right direction in sending the clear message that people are concerned about them and have a hearing ear for their cry.

In addition, the competition carved out an economic pathway for young entrepreneurs who used the afternoons to ply their trade in condiments and other things.

Even though the tournament was played on a field devoid of grass, it did not matter to the players or spectators as everyone had a single agenda which was to have an activity of merit.

Sunday’s final crossed the barriers of support as both finalists had overwhelming patronage; again showing that after all there is civility among the challenges. It was a delight to see the banter, all with mutual respect. Good for Football, sports in general and humanity.

The fact that small businesses operating from the Sharpes community associated themselves through sponsorship with the various teams, also was encouraging.

But what was most interesting was that Worldwide Mission Church, a religious group in the area, donated two balls to the competition. This was an unprecedented gesture, coming from a religious group, but compliments are insufficient for Pastor Aldon Bess and his organization.

This shows that Bess is not only concerned about persons’ spiritual wellbeing, but also their physical and social development.

The achievements, however, can be eroded if all concerned rest on their laurels.

This is not to say that the community is out of the woods, and that all is well. Far from that, but there is hope, not that Utopia will be achieved, but a situation which is not saturated by fear of a few.

The journey has just begun and every effort must be made to keep the momentum gained by the Football competition going. Carefully thought out programmes, geared at different age groups are needed as the route to recovery continues to be charted.

Not to omit the spiritual side, as this aspect is integral in turning around bad situations.

Therefore, other communities faced with similar debilitating issues can take a leaf from the Redemption Sharpes experience and knock heads together and come up with some plausible solutions.

One event will not do the trick, neither will the problems be eradicated, but no one can be faulted for trying.

The staging of sporting events by community based groups helps the decision makers save lots of money, as their work is cushioned by the interventions by these organizations.

The ball is in the court of the decision makers to lend support to complement these organizations, as together everyone endeavours to minimize unsavoury incidents in our communities and the nation as a whole.

Still, the vexed issue of that “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field will be highlighted another time.