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Open letter to PM Gonsalves

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26.MAR.10

Dear Sir,

On numerous occasions, I sat down with the intention of putting pen to paper to write to you on a topic that is pertinent to the development of our young people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the area of sports, specifically indoor sports. This, in my humble opinion, has been ignored ever since I knew myself. However, I believe that this Government has an excellent opportunity to change this.{{more}}

Not every child wants to run up and down in the sun to play sports. Not every child will have the talent to be a cricketer or a soccer player, so we must provide the facilities that could accommodate those who are inclined to play table tennis, badminton, boxing, taekwondo, karate, basketball, volleyball and netball.

I beg to ask this question, Sir, Has there been any real change in sports in St. Vincent and the Grenadines? If I were asked this question the answer would be a resounding NO. Why? We have always had football fields, cricket fields and hard-courts some of which have never been used since put there by the previous administration because some of them were placed too far from the villages for which they were intended to serve.

An indoor facility will change a lot of things. It will enable us in the sporting fraternity to host international matches, especially netball, basketball and volleyball. Just recently at the Windward Island School Games which were held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the rain almost washed out the volleyball and netball matches. Do we want this to continue?

Mr. Prime Minister, Sir, it is senseless of me to raise such an issue without offering any assistance, based on the overwhelming experience I have as someone who has visited over 50 different indoor facilities participating in international tournaments (table tennis).

The old Kingstown Anglican School Annex is a building I believe can be turned into an indoor facility with some modification. It is in a central location and has the space to get the correct specifications as it relates to surface for playing area with seating capacity. One may argue how can we put a sporting facility in a prime location, but isn’t prime property good enough for the children’s development or to help to have a healthier and productive nation through sports and physical exercise?

I know that the annex was not built for sports – it was a factory, but if you look at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall in Guyana, it is just a shell. There are other facilities that I saw throughout my travels and most of them are shells. Of course there are the more sophisticated ones like the Widley Gymnasium in Barbados which was built by the Chinese, but we are not asking for such.

Presently, over 200 children from the primary schools around Kingstown go to the Annex on a daily basis to learn to play table tennis and engage in physical exercise. In my humblest opinion, this indoor facility can also be used for performing arts, e.g. calypso, tent shows, beauty pageants and other cultural aspects of the performing arts industry. Maybe we could ask the National Lotteries Authority to adopt this project, as you can see what a wonderful job they are doing at the Victoria Park.

So Mr. Prime Minister I am on bending knees, asking you to bring about this change that I am sure will go down in the history books.

Sean Stanley

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