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Browne: Sports Council to decentralise local sports

Browne: Sports Council to decentralise local sports

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The continued upgrade of sporting facilities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines will gradually see a decentralisation of sporting activities.

That’s the aim of the National Sports Council (NSC), the government agency charged with the responsibility of the maintenance of these facilities.{{more}}

And, Manager of the NSC Osbourne Browne sees the hosting of the East Caribbean Central Bank OECS Under-23 Netball Championship later this month at the newly commissioned Kearton’s Hard Court, as the first step in this direction.

The sub-regional competition will be held from August 26 to September 1.

“We are trying to bring most facilities at least to regional standards, so that regional matches could be staged there,” Browne outlined.

“We are presently working on putting washrooms in every facility,” he said.

Browne disclosed that the development of three new playing fields at Fancy, Penniston and Mt Grenan will embellish the NSC’s thrust towards providing a sporting venue in each constituency.

“But there’s a need for a good playing field between the area of Stubbs and Chili,” Browne observed.

Browne said that when these developments are on stream they will complement the Arnos Vale Playing Field, which when completed will have to be carefully managed.

The NSC will have charge of that facility from July 1, next year, following the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

The Arnos Vale grounds as well as the playing fields at Stubbs and Sion Hill are undergoing extensive refurbishing in time to host four teams in warm-up matches ahead of the World Cup.

Browne believes that the upgrade of the latter fields have fallen in the NSC’s scheme of operations as they will be of international standards.

He said that 2006 has been a busy year for his staff, as the 11 playing fields and 12 hard courts earmarked for repair consume the attention of the NSC.

Browne said that the NSC since 2001 has done extensive repair on 16 playing fields, 12 hard courts and the construction of a swimming pool at Shrewsbury House.

But Browne stated that while the efforts of the NSC go on, there are some national sporting associations whose tardiness is derailing the process.

He revealed that some associations are not adhering to the regulations for the use of facilities.

“National Sports Associations, the Division of Sports and all other prospective users of sports facilities must apply in writing to the National Sports Council, at least 10 days in advance, for the use of the NSC Sport Facility,” Browne reiterated.

In responding to the council’s decision to close some fields from time to time for restorative work, Browne said, “We have to ensure proper surfaces for our sports people; hence the closure of fields – because of wear and tear. There is nothing we can do about”.

The NSC’s manager also chided associations for not complying with the set procedures for funding.

He pointed to the fact that several associations have not submitted copies of their 2006 Programme of Activities including: budgets, and calendar of events, audited financial statements for 2005, their list of executive members and a copy of their current constitution.

Browne said that associations because of their non-compliance have been unable to access funds from the National Sports Foundation, National Lotteries Authority or receive waiver of airport taxes and duty free concessions.

Despite this shortcoming, Browne admitted that generally the NSC’s relationship with sporting associations has been good.

The National Sports Council was established by an Act of Parliament in 1988.

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