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BEFORE I FORGET by Rae Samuel

posted 26 Aug 2013, 19:23 by Gerry Kangalee
So the incumbent Minister has, as he did reportedly in 2010 with the Ministry's Prado, run another group of young Trinbago sports men and women off the road, or in this instance, off the plane. It is 12.13 a.m., the hour when the dominant affliction of my age set, insomnia, strikes. (Alzheimer’s reportedly runs a close second but I cannot recall what I did with the data. It must be somewhere around here.)

I am reading that our team for the 2013 Pan Am Juniors athletic championships will not be going, because of late application for funding. Of course in the wake of Jehue Gordon's historic feat, this is the perfect time to treat the generation next of Jehues and Keshorns as collateral damage.

Is this what all the abuse meted out to administrators, sportsmen and sportswomen is all about? I, who did not achieve what you all did in your disciplines while serving Trinbago sport; I who will not have a stadium named after me because of my achievements; I whose name will never have brand status like Hasely, Brian, Keshorn, Jean Pierre or Stacey Ann Sui-Butt. I shall build myself up by cutting you and your federation/s down to my newt size, in a cacophony of abuse, invective and vitriol. And if you feel I am joking, ask you mudde...sorry, ask my former cabinet colleague what he told the English reporter at the airport.

Now the very opposite is happening in the smaller territories. Teams from St.Kitts, St.Vincent and Grenada have already assembled, according to reports I am receiving on my fb page. Again I want to re-visit what happened in Carifta 2013 Games. Trinidad and Tobago did not enter most of the U17 events both in track and in field. In any case, we are notoriously weak in field events. How much pole vaulting does one see at our major sports meets? But here it is we are again missing out on a major junior championship and we talk about "putting youth at risk?'' 

The day the U15 football team found out that they were not going to the tournament, I was approached by a track and field colleague whom I had not seen in a while. He immediately blurted out, Trini style, "Yuh hear what they do to the lil footballers?" He was visibly upset and incredulous. The rhetorical question that one repeats to one self, repeatedly, "How could they do this to the lil fellahs?" 

Apparently the Ministry's major task is to put sporting development, with its emphasis on youth, 'at risk'. Hoops and hurdles for life; 'summer' camps; 'life skill' programmes; that is it from here on in. Schools' basketball has already been decapitated and the developments on the Secondary Schools football league's recent executive elections portend doom. 

All this reminds me of something a track and field colleague from Grenada told me about 6 years ago. The team had begun to make a mark in Carifta, emerging just as Dominica, St. Kitts and St. Lucia are now doing, based on ongoing developmental programmes. My Grenadian counterpart told me that they went to one of the Championships with a diminished team, 48 instead of the allowable 60. Apparently the Prime Minister of the time saw the team return so he received a call the next day from the Prime Minister asking for an explanation.

When he told the P.M. that he had not been able to prepare a full team because of time and lack of funds the Prime Minister told him "That must never happen again''. Kirani James is not an accident! 

Finally I want to re-iterate two calls I have made to comrades and colleagues with whom I hold discussions. (Two calls and an admonition really). First, do not ask me about 'elections after 5 minutes of conversation’. I re-iterate that I would vote AGAINST you if I did vote. What are you bringing to the table? It 'doh wuk so'. One MSJ and now ILP is enough. 

The first call I would make is for a core group to provide a leadership cadre to raise issues, hold discussions, and canvass opinions. Conditions are very favourable for meaningful change. Start the process. The second and equally important is for these federations to form a united front. Football, track and field, hockey basketball face a 'common enemy" Why not deal with the problem/s collectively? So I can sleep at night…before I forget
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