Getting out of that tailspin
SEVERAL CALLS HAVE been made in various quarters for St Vincent and the Grenadines to have a secondary sporting facility in its stock of infrastructural assets. This call has now become a bellowing sound, as recent happenings have thrown this year’s schools’ athletics calendar into a tailspin.
This is because the Arnos Vale Playing Field, which is our premier sporting facility, will have restricted use during the months of February and March.
That facility will be the venue for two matches in February for the regional four-day cricket tournament, and in March, there is the CONCACAF National League qualifiers match between St Vincent and the Grenadines and Bonaire.
These periods coincide with the zenith of the track and field season, inclusive of the schools’ meets as well as the many competitions undertaken by Team Athletics SVG.
For too often, local sports have to suffer when there are cricket matches and other tournaments, which demand the use of the Arnos Vale sporting facility.
Authorities are hamstrung by the fact that we are all aware that the West Indies Cricket Board, now rebranded Cricket West Indies (CWI) has had a habit of being tardy in releasing its fixtures for the regional four day cricket tournament.
But beggars are not choosers, as St Vincent and the Grenadines’ hands are ties in this regard, as the financial returns which come with the hosting of these matches assist the development of local cricket, as the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association Inc. , is able to add to its surplus.
Additionally, the St Vincent and the Grenadines economy benefits as hotels, the National Sports Council, persons in food and beverage, the transport sector, among others, get a share of the spoils.
So as it stands with the present situation, the die is cast, little can be done to change this predicament, except to find alternatives.
Compounding the woes is the limited availability of the Victoria Park, which is compounded by the reality that it is primarily a cultural venue.
The Victoria Park also has some limitations, as its size does not permit much in terms of satisfying some of the intricacies of track and field.
The next best option in the given circumstances is optimizing the Sion Hill Playing Field.
But this facility also poses a problem, as the national senior football teams are using it as a training venue, so too are some football clubs as well as the SVG Rugby Union.
Also, the Sion Hill Playing Field is one of the main grounds that hosts matches in the national cricket competition, which gets going this weekend.
More demands are on the Sion Hill Playing Field, as matches in the national club championships, put on by the SVG Football Federation are also scheduled.
Moreover, the Sion Hill Playing Field is not conducive for relatively large gatherings for sports, as there is little seating and the amenities are equally restricted.
With all the debilitations, it must be advocated that a push be made for another sporting facility, which can be counted as second to the main Arnos Vale Playing Field.
This may mean creating an entirely new sporting venue altogether or developing an existing facility to meet the required standards for the hosting of regional tournaments, thus easing the pressure off the premier facility.
Whatever the choice, such facility must be lighted.
Another of the avenues that can be pursued with some urgency is for the SVGFF to stop the talk and walk the walk, and advance its thrust to get a facility to call home.
This in itself will not only aid the growth of football, but reduce the dependency on other facilities.
St Vincent and the Grenadines, as a matter of urgency, has to look inwards at develop its sporting facilities, as sports tourism is being the go to avenue, as a revenue strategy and ultimately, economic development.
We are behind in this regard, and in order to be competitive, such short comings have to be addressed expeditiously.