I have to say, the backlash over the recent Parker Company Contract unveiling has been rather astounding on several fronts. Most of it seems centred on the amount of money the contract is worth, some of it surprisingly is over a disagreement on where the money is being invested. All-in-all, one may be forgiven for surmising this negativity, is rooted in petty politicking.
Notice, that I’ve commenced this write-up by referring (accurately I might add) to the contract as the Parker Company Contract and not the Lockerbie contract which is what has been erroneously bandied about from certain corners. More on that in Part II.
I first wanted to address the rather surprising criticisms of this contract from the sporting fraternity well at least one brother.
According to the details of the contract “5 Shovel ready projects” have been approved by the Government, all of which I will mention here. The Mini Stadium and adjacent Class –A Cricket ground in Soufriere, the National Sports Academy in Gros Islet and the three Sports Complexes in Dennery, Micoud North and Micoud South.
The conceptual design documents of these projects, provides us with some details regarding the proposals outlined in the contract. In the “Mini Stadium” in Soufriere, there is going to be “Turf & Track to serve as a National/International Championship Venue…”; The Dennery Sports Complex is going to be used for “Football domestic league play…” and “courts for outdoor basketball/volleyball/netball” are going to be built; and in the National Sports Academy in Gros Islet there will be “Training facilities for football, track (sprint & Jump lanes) as well as outdoor and indoor Basketball, Volleyball and Netball.”
All of this sounds ever so so horrible, right? Which is why (I suppose) the president of the SLBA felt obliged to add his two cents to this issue in a recent press release.
Leslie Collymore was compelled to express his concern about the Parker Company contract which he referred to as “the matter at hand”; and what he then called “the USD 12 million consultancy Fee being paid to the sports consultant for the scope of works highlighted in the published terms of agreement.”
Well Mr. Collymore, if you were really referencing “the terms of agreement” as you claim, I wonder how you missed the part declaring that the $12 million dollars is not contracted to Lockerbie (the Sports Consultant), but to The Parker Company. But I’ll address this in Part II as I said before.
What’s particularly disconcerting here, is that Collymore is parroting the exact set of misinformation bandied about from “certain corners” that I had earlier mentioned; which makes one go hmmmm.
However, the SLBA President assures us, that this sudden need to speak out, this compulsion as he calls it to “step out of my normal…” is not politically motivated. “I preface this, so that my intentions are not misconstrued as that of a political operative…” he stated.
But it is that very prefacing that has me wondering, Mr. Collymore. I would have never thought that this was politically motivated had you not brought it up yourself. Either that, or your powers of prescience are quite potent. Why feel the need to pre-empt the accusation if it is not foremost in your mind and in your thinking on this matter?
Anyway, the 10 year SLBA President went on to state; “In my line of business it’s very important to know what you don’t know (whatever that means) and from a National Sport policy agenda it is imperative that we as a small state explore existing limitations, issues and trajectories;”
So all of a sudden, the SLBA President, who earlier in the release decried the lack of “Government Subvention for the development of the sport of basketball” which he said stands at “XCD $7000 per year;”, is a fiscal conservative the likes of Kentucky Senator and libertarian Rand Paul. Give me a break.
Where was this fiscal conservatism and concern over “the existing limitations…” within our tiny island, when he was whingeing about the $7000 annual subvention the Government allocates for the sport of basketball?
Did he actually expect, (given our limitations of course), the Government to pay even half of basketball’s annual expenditure figure, which he put as ranging between $150-$200,000 EC, when basketball in this country does not even generate a fraction of that amount of money?
Again, this is the same crowd telling us when it comes to sports, Chastanet should not run the country like a business. Now that he is taking a fiscal hit in order to provide us with better sporting infrastructure, they are now changing their tune and telling him to be leery of our “existing limitations.” What a coincidence.
It’s really rich that representative (s) of the sporting fraternity have decided to rail against the planned construction of sporting facilities all around the island; the same sporting facilities they’ve either demanded be fixed or constructed for years.
Who hasn’t heard them saying that it is a shame that our Inter-secondary school competition is being run on grass and that this puts our athletes at a huge disadvantage? Who hasn’t heard them decrying (and rightly so) our lack of a National Stadium due to its conversion to a makeshift hospital and its current dilapidated state? Everyone both in and out of the sporting fraternity has lamented these sorry conditions.
But now that those things are scheduled for construction, these “sporting experts” are telling us that we need to “explore existing limitations…”; sounding more like Adam Smith than the sports fraternity that has had its hand out for years, begging government after government to provide it with “infrastructure”. Quite astounding indeed.
Collymore even concedes that “the lack of adequate sporting facilities is a serious impediment to the development of sports, however it is not the only impediment…”
Well thank you Captain Obvious but that’s beside the point. Everyone knows that the lack of adequate facilities is not the only impediment to the development of sports in the country. You stating that doesn’t make a difference to the reality on the ground.
The point is we have to start somewhere. And as you and your fellow sports personalities (used) to point out, development in sports will go nowhere without the proper infrastructure; the building of which by The Parker Company, will make a difference to the reality on the ground.
But I suppose now that Chas is threatening to do just that, you have a problem with it too. But I forgot, this isn’t political right? And what’s Collymore’s solution? Wondering if millions of dollars “would not be better served if any National Sport Policy and commensurate allocation be dedicated to addressing current…”
In other words, let’s spend millions of dollars discussing solutions. As Lavar Ball would say “stay in your lane” Collymore and focus on utilising the basketball facilities you’re about to be given in order to improve your sport in the country.