So, Barbados’ athletes won a mere 12 medals at this year’s Carifta Games— down from last year’s total of 21, and one of our country historically lowest Carifta medal totals for many years now.
But none of this should surprise us. Almost exactly one year ago I wrote an article in which I referred to “the devastating impact” that the sad neglect, deterioration and closure of our country only national Track and Field stadium would have on our athletes, psychologically and otherwise.
When a National Sports Council, a Ministry of Sport, or a Government could so callously neglect their responsibility to maintain and preserve Barbados’ national stadium that the facility is condemned and closed, they are sending a very negative subliminal message to the athletes of the nation. And that message is :- “We really don’t care too much about you or your Sport !”.
So, in addition to the damage and dislocation to the national Track and Field programme that the loss of the stadium as a fully functioning facility wrought, there is the more subtle psychological damage that was and continues to be inflicted .
There is also the tragic joke of the Ministry of Sport publishing a drawing of a spanking new $150Million national stadium on the front page of the Nation newspaper a full year ago and assuring the traditionally gullible Barbadian public that plans for the construction of this new impressive facility were “in the pipe-line”. At the time I publicly referred to the news story and the talk of plans being “in the pipe-line” as an “All Fools Day joke”!
This is what I wrote in April 2016 in a Press Release entitled “Is It An All Fools Day Joke” :-
“I maintain that this story qualifies as a “joke” because when one actually reads the reported speech of Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley, one discovers that:-
. “funding is not currently available within the normal financing arrangements of the Government…”
. “perhaps we will start it on a phase basis…”
. “we are going to have to look at the possibility of getting grant funding, and that is what we are really preoccupied with now….”
. ” the sports council will be looking at a crowd funding initiative….. although this initiative can be somewhat slow…”
In other words, there is no money available for this project, and the Government really does not have much of a clue as to where money can or will come from !”
Almost exactly one year after publishing that impressive drawing of a new national stadium the Minister of Sport finally speaks about the matter, but has nothing to say about the “grant funding” or the “crowd funding initiative” that they were supposed to be actively pursuing, other than to make some vague and nebulous request to Barbadians to each contribute a $10 bill.
So, we are just not serious about this. Indeed, we are “making sport” at our young athletes and doing them a grave injustice. It is really a sad and tragic situation.