By Neto Baptiste
Deputy Director of Sports, Evans Jones, has sought to dispel widespread belief that the Ministry of Sports is solely responsible for the development of student-athletes who compete in the various competitions hosted by the body on an annual basis.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Jones said the burden of development falls on the respective associations, while the ministry’s purpose is to provide competition.
“We within the Ministry of Sports, we are actually there to facilitate the development of the sport through our engagement by having competition for these students within the schools system hence, the association are the very sole body that has responsibility for the overall development of the sport and the coaches. We utilise the few coaches that we have within the schools to try to facilitate a few schools but you know, it cannot happen for everybody,” he said.
Jones, who is also an athletics coach, said the ministry’s main responsibility to the associations is financing from a national standpoint.
“The government’s main input is financing the association in every way possible where national representation is concerned but through that, we have not seen that strategic planning from the association to actually incorporate our sporting activities which is creating the mass participation where talent identification can be sorted from the schools programme and then harnessed into a comprehensive national programme,” he said.
At the time, Jones was addressing questions regarding the working relationship between the sports ministry and the various associations where it pertains to development and talent identification.
The former national athlete believes there is a need for more consultation between the stakeholders if the process is to improve.
“We all need to sit down around a table and out the think tank together. We need to do a swat analysis and look at an audit and we go forward from there because if the association does not have it then somebody needs to take the bull by the horn and it can only be done through an collaborative effort,” Jones said.
“Right now we are looking to merge our school programme within the football unit with the football association because there are so many international competition with the under-15, the under-17 and so on. We can’t pick an under-15 or under-17 national team from the ministry. Likewise, we cannot do a cricket team from the ministry, we cannot do an athletics team from the ministry so it must be the association,” he added.
There has been no schools competition since March last year after the country announced its first known case of the coronavirus.