Sports Saint Lucia Incorporated (SSI) was established in 2002, in order to best manage sporting infrastructure across the island.
SSI is a not-for-profit entity, and its main areas of focus are the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground – an international venue, and the Mindoo Phillip Park – a national facility.
The board and management of SSI, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, schools, and national sporting federations seek to allocate the use of facilities under its mandate in such a manner that as many events as possible are accommodated, whilst being mindful of the demand for DSCG and MPP, which is usually high and not always feasible to allow the use of these venues.
In terms of inter-house track and field, MPP is normally the preferred location, given the nature of its surface, its centrality, its ability to take a 300m track, and the fact that field events can be held there.
In 2022, assessments were conducted by the Ministry of Infrastructure on MPP, with a view to completely renovating that facility. At this time, that process is not yet complete, and MPP is therefore unusable for inter-house track and field.
This situation has left a number of schools searching for solutions. The board and management of SSI, in an effort to provide support for these crucial institutions, and mindful of the absence of school sports for two years during the pandemic, reached out to the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports to indicate that DSCG would be the preferred venue for inter-house track and field.
This step was taken despite the knowledge that this would increase the pressure on DSCG, and on SSI, which absorbs the full costs associated with staging such school events, as part of its mandate to promote national development in sports.
Going into this planning process, a number of events had already been booked for DSCG, which already has provisional bookings as far as July 2023. Consequently, a number of additional dates have been requested, and some of the dates on which schools had hoped to have their track meets were not feasible.
In every case, SSI has communicated clearly to all stakeholders, including the schools themselves, and alternatives have been agreed amicably.
Ideally, the dozens of schools in the north of the island would be able to use either of two venues for their activities. Unfortunately, at this time, only one is usable. It is a multi-purpose venue, and as such, we must be respectful of all users, whether revenue-generating or otherwise.
The board and management of SSI thank student athletes, parents, principals, and teachers for their continued kind cooperation and support, as we keep playing our part in uplifting the nation’s youth through sport.
SOURCE: Sports Saint Lucia Incorporated