Member Countries discuss new approaches towards Sports Development in the OECS
Castries, St. Lucia (Thursday March 5, 2010): OECS Directors of Sports recently met via video conference on to discuss the future direction of the OECS Sports Programme. This first-of-its-kind meeting was chaired by the new OECS Sports Programme Officer, Denis James.
The meeting in early February discussed several issues that were impacting on the development of sports in the OECS. Among these were challenges in securing sponsorship for regional tournaments, weak club structures at the national level, and an apparent lack of appreciation of the important role of sports in national development. The Sports Directors also noted the shift in dominance of certain sports, which was being influenced significantly by media coverage and extra-regional opportunities. While the OECS Secretariat was commended for the excellent work that the Sports Desk had undertaken over the past 25 years in promoting regional sports, it was agreed that there was a need for a repositioning of the OECS Sports Programme to allow it to respond to new economic and social realities.
The meeting agreed that going forward, greater emphasis should be placed on school sports, and that efforts should be made to re-establish regional school tournaments. It was further agreed that a harmonized regional sports policy should be developed, which would articulate a role for sports in national development planning and take account of the importance of sports in the health and education sectors. The Sports Directors strongly emphasized the requirement for more community-level sports programmes in all of the Member States of the OECS, and they endorsed the need for training and other capacity building activities for clubs and national associations.
The productive video-conference concluded with a decision that the OECS Secretariat should serve as a clearing house for sports-related information in the OECS, including information on sports scholarships opportunities, and a commitment that OECS Sports Directors would meet more regularly.