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Windward Islands School Games without a sponsor

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The annual Windward Islands School Games (WISG) is without a title sponsor, after Canadian Bank Note and WINLOTT Inc. pulled the plug on their sponsorship of the event,{{more}} which takes place among the islands of Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Chairman of WINLOTT, Murray Bullock, spoke to SEARCHLIGHT last Saturday about why the decision was taken.

He disclosed that over the years, his organisation has become dissatisfied with the general administration of the games, hence they were forced to take the tough stance.

“First of all, the timing of the games does not lend itself to much participation from students, as they are held during the August vacation, hence, we do not think that the games are really serving their real purpose.”

Bullock said he believes that such an undertaking should pay for itself, and compared the Windwards’ games with the annual Secondary School Track and Field Games held here.

He reasoned that locally the secondary school athletics event is the biggest sporting venture after the hosting of a one-day international cricket match between the West Indies and one of the major cricketing nations.

Bullock said that the secondary school sports is staged when school is in session, and an admission fee is charged to enter the facility, in this case the Arnos Vale Playing Field.

“How can you explain, then, that an event which is of a higher level cannot attract more people watching?” Bullock questioned.

The WINLOTT Chairman is of the view that the Windward Islands School Games should be self sustaining, and once the scheduled is changed should attract spectator following, thus establishing a revenue stream.

Bullock said his organisation also wants to see the re-introduction of at least Twenty/20 Cricket into the games.

This discipline was an integral part of the games in previous years, but was dropped some time ago. However, Bullock thinks that with Cricket being critical to the people of the Caribbean, its place on the Windwards Games is necessary.

Referring to the overall planning of the games as “willy nilly”, Bullock said that each island knows that every four years it plays host to the games, yet there is always a late rush to get things in place.

The WINLOTT Chairman was also critical that the organisation of each year’s games is left too much to the individual host territories.

SEARCHLIGHT understands that there have been complaints over the years about the quality of food, and accommodation, among other things, which have plagued the games.

Bullock, therefore, suggested that a broad based permanent committee be put in place, inclusive of representatives from the Ministries of Education and Sports and the sponsors.

Reports are that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has complied with this request and has made nominations in the persons of Woodrow “Killy” Williams, and former Education Officer Elford Charles, who has since retired.

“We want to see a standard and structured procedure to each year’s games,” Bullock stated.

Bullock revealed that his organisation’s concerns were again ventilated this year, when the games were held in Dominica, yet no one seems to have taken heed.

Bullock said despite its decision, WINLOTT is open to discussion.

“Our board is prepared to discuss the matter, once persons are receptive to change,” Bullock ended.

The modern annual WISG is said to have been born out of games among the top schools of the Windward Islands, dating back to the 1930’s.

Overtime, the games have gone through changes, which also saw a period of dormancy.

There was a revival of the games, which took place in 1987.

Several persons who have made it on to the regional and international sporting scene are products of the modern WISG. Among them are Nixon Mc Lean, Adonal Foyle, Esworth Coombs, Sancho Lyttle and Lavern Spencer, and most recently, Kirani James and Rondell Bartholomew.

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