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Short-changing our youths


Every so often, our youths here in St Vincent and the Grenadines and across the Caribbean are short-changed and, in some instances, failed by our sports administrators. The frequency at which these occur must be noted and documented.{{more}}

No plausible excuse can be given by the Executive of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union for not sending a team to the Caribbean Union of Teachers Track and Field Meet in Jamaica.

This, after the eager youngsters were called out to trials, and were hyped up about going on the big stage, especially Jamaica, the sprint capital of the world.

Obviously, the fragile egos were deflated on receiving the news that they could not go.

The lame duck excuse, that flights could not have been had, cannot be accepted as a genuine human error, but sheer incompetence and negligence on the part of those on whom the responsibilities were placed.

Didn’t the SVUT know in advance what are the procedural requirements for travel?

Didn’t those in charge of the travel arrangements recognize that a proactive approach must be employed at this time year, when seats on aircraft are at a premium, as it is a peak period?

Here we are dealing with the fulcrum of the nation’s education system, and if they cannot do the job, then heaven help us.

Staying here at home, almost each year, the secondary schools’ team to the Windward Islands games is pulled together late and in a haphazard manner. And this year is no exception.

Crash courses are the in thing for some of the youngsters who will have to double up in the multi-discipline games.

When will those in charge see their roles as above all, guidance counsellors, pace setters, teachers and policy makers for the fertile brains who are searching for an identity and a pathway to follow?

It is then expected that they go out and perform at their best and bring back the accolades.

Whenever they do, the said administrators praise themselves for putting the right measures in place.

On the contrary, when the athletes do not do as expected, blame is heaped on the participants and their discipline, commitment and abilities come into question.

Similarly, the Windwards Under-19 Cricket Tournament, which was held in Dominica over the past week, had its fair share of administrative bundling.

Someone, somewhere, failed to put the necessary travel plans in place for the Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines teams in time; hence, they arrived in Dominica late, and had to play on their assigned rest day, to make up for the day they missed.

And, at a time when the Windwards Board is lamenting a lack of funds, a charter flight had to be the answer for the Grenada team, to avoid total embarrassment.

But we in these parts are not alone, as Jamaica had to find replacements for twelve players of its Under-15 Cricket team for the West Indies tournament, which bowled off in St Kitts earlier this week.

Again, someone in the Jamaican set-up miscalculated the age stipulations, thus leaving a dozen aspirants behind with glum faces.

This is not the first time such has happened at the wider West Indies level. Several young regional players suffered the same fate in the 1998 Youth World Cup in South Africa.

One will readily say that most are volunteers, hence, they are not duty bound. However, when one is elected to a post, what is expected of you is nothing short of excellence.

Indeed, what is presented to the youngsters may be misconstrued by them as the proper way in which things should be done.

The frightening spin-off is that some of these same sportsmen and women, when it is their turn at the helm, may put the template in motion and the cycle is perpetuated.

But one day the table must turn and the trend bucked.

The time may come for those who make such faux pas, especially those who are in paid positions, to be fired and those volunteers do the honourable thing and resign.