The issue of proper sporting grounds for young people has been called into question over the past few days as many of the nation’s youth, especially those living in the beyond St John’s, are being marginalised because the Ministry of Sports has not yet provided resources are to the schools’ sporting programmes.
Parliamentary Secretary responsible for Sports, Senator Colin James, has cited budgetary constraints as the chief reason for the ministry’s poor performance. As it pertains to the help sought from Public Works (for ground preparation), and the Transport Board (for bussing), there are significant limitations on both fronts.
“Public works doesn’t want to incur extra expenses by hiring private vehicles because the Minister (MP “Teco” Lake) has told me that he is not going to overspend his budget,” James said.
The Sports Ministry made a request for two buses to be dedicated solely toward the transportation of the children to and from all school league events, but that request was denied by the Transport Board.
“What they have asked us to do is to give them the schedule, in terms of picking up the students from the schools and taking them to venues and then taking them back afterwards,” the senator said.
The ministry owns two buses that currently sit at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds that “cannot be used” the senator said, for the past two years. The cost for repairing the two school buses has not yet been determined, but James says that he will be seeking “private sector assistance in getting those two dedicated buses to add to what the transport board is doing.”
The ministry also hopes to add physical education teachers to each school who have knowledge about multiple sports to ease the need for specified coaches at each school.
“We hope that these teachers can work in not only just maybe cricket or football, but that they can work in another sport or two, ”James said.
“I just don’t see where the government is going to get the funding or resources to employ a coach for every sport in every school.”