Editorial: ‘Knuckled’ on Knuckle Block

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It was one of the questions on many minds – whither the name “Knuckle Block?” After all, it is a most unusual name, and one that evokes much speculation and snickering. The term “to knuckle” in our vernacular denotes, “being unfaithful in a relationship,” “straying from one’s love interest,” “philandering,” “being untrue,” “cheating.”  Of course, the question was posed to Mr. Paul Davis and Mr. Anderson Carty of the King George V Restoration Society in an appearance on Observer radio’s VOICE OF THE PEOPLE broadcast yesterday, and they divulged that the area was named for the many supposed/alleged cuckolded men in the community who took to hanging out there to commiserate with fellow, er . . . ‘sufferers.’ Apparently, many men who’d been the victims of unrequited love, or whose girlfriends/ wives/companions had strayed or been unfaithful, would congregate to share their war stories and cry in their beer. Seems, “Misery loved company” on Knuckle Block.

Of course, notwithstanding its unflattering name, the King George V Park area and Knuckle Block remained the mecca for sports in Antigua and Barbuda, producing some of our finest sportsmen and women of all time.

But then, something wrongheaded happened on Knuckle Block. No sooner had the Chinese company turned over a brand new sporting complex to the Grays Green Community, that the government decided it would use the facility to temporarily house the St. John’s Magistrates’ Court. Oh, the disappointment! And this disappointment was added to the earlier disappointment of the Grays Green folks with the huge disparity between what was promised – the grand early conceptualization of a multi-sport complex for the area, and what was eventually delivered. For example, only one major sporting event can take place at a time there, and the expected indoor basketball court with modern rims became an open air/partially enclosed basketball arena with archaic rims, among many other underwhelming features. Needless to say, the people of the Grays Green, a proud community with an outstanding record of sporting excellence and knowledge, were grateful to the Chinese.

And they were not going to complain. After all, a less-than-adequate sporting complex is better than no complex at all. Unfortunately, after a rather long wait for the use of the complex, the sporting fraternity and the at-risk youth in the Grays Green Community were sorely hurt when told (apparently with little or no consultation with the stakeholders in the community) (Sigh! What else is new?) that their new complex was being commandeered by the Ministry of Legal Affairs. For court! For shame!

The people in an already disadvantaged community are being disadvantaged yet again. Insult is being heaped upon injury most foul. The at-risk youth, many of whom are unsupervised in the afternoons, and for whom sports, or some other meaningful activity at the complex, is a means of escape from prostitution, drug-dealing, thievery and other anti-social activity, will now be placed even more at risk. The Ministry of Legal Affairs, which has seen many of the at-risk youth from Grays Green in the grip of the system, will now be a party to depriving the at-risk youth of a wholesome place where they can be engaged in an uplifting activity – an activity that just could be the means by which they escape the dead-end spiral of the ghetto. Sigh!

According to Senator Richard Lewis, the minority leader in the Upper House, “The government knew long ago that there was a problem with the court. It needed repairs and so they could have looked around for a facility to house the court temporarily. I cannot understand why they allowed it to reach the point where the community will now be deprived of a sporting facility they had so looked forward to utilizing.” We guess that the senator and the many frustrated residents of the community can ask the good Minister of Legal Affairs as to the thinking behind this unfortunate decision on Knuckle Block.  

Of course, the denial of access to the sporting facility, never mind the happy-talk about it being temporary, is serious. It represents an aching void in the heart of the already-jaded Grays Green Community. It will further add to the disillusionment and despair that so many feel, and it will most assuredly give further currency to the sense that nobody cares!

Meanwhile, we could be wrong, but we here at NEWSCO place no stock in the government’s assurances that the dispossession meted out to the Grays Green people is only a temporary one. We have heard many government promises along these lines before, and seldom has this government ever kept its word! And every day that there is no place of refuge and development for the unsupervised youth in the Grays Green Community, is one day too much. Young people fall into crime and aimlessness every day. It is quite sad! And quite ironic! The court will sit in the very halls that were designed to keep the young people from appearing in court! Nice! The Grays Green Community getting ‘knuckled’ on Knuckle Block!

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