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James aware of challenges

James aware of challenges


Coordinator of the OECS Sports Desk, St. Lucian Denis James is aware of the challenges facing sports in the sub-region, but is prepared to face them head on.{{more}}

James, who was in St. Vincent and the Grenadines last week to witness the ECCB OECS Under-23 Netball Championships told SEARCHLIGHT last Monday that limited financial resources were hampering the development of sports among the member States.

“The financial resources are limited, and because we are separate entities, this makes it worse,” James stated.

He was specifically referring to the cost of air travel among the islands, which increases the cost of holding annual competitions.

James, who has been in the post for the last seven months, referred to the fact that over the last few years, the only competitions which have continued uninterrupted, are the Under-23 Netball championships, the Champion of Champions Club Netball Competition, the OECS Half Marathon and the sub-regional Squash championships.

James commented, “In most of the national associations and clubs, there is an absence of programme planning for their membership, and there is a lack of fund raising activities,” James, a former President of the St. Lucia Cricket Association observed.

“They depend too much on sponsorship,” was James’ assessment.

However, in his capacity, James plans to work through the various Ministries of Sports in the member States, to get them to host workshops and seminars on fund raising, so that many national associations and clubs may become more self sufficient.

He thought that with this and other initiatives in train, there would be a return to a more active set of events in the OECS.

As he unveiled his work plan, James said that as part of the overall development programme, the training of unemployed youths in the various territories in different disciplines was on the cards.

“The programme will train young unemployed people for three months in four sporting disciplines. They will go out on weekends and coach other youngsters between the ages of 8 and 13, and will be supervised by the officials from the Ministries of Sports,” James proposed.

He said the facilitators would be paid, while the attendees would get a stipend.

This, the OECS Sports Coordinator said, was one way of rekindling interest in sports in the OECS, while at the same time, providing employment.

Admitting that it would require some funding, James hinted at looking outside the region for sources to get the programme up and running.

He acknowledged the fact that the various sporting disciplines in the OECS region had declined in standards, and said, “The product has to be redefined, we must have a good product to sell”.