Essential to national development

The August 19 edition of Brass Tacks Sunday was very interesting. The panel was erudite, callers passionate, with most comments based on actual experience. All hearts wedded firmly to the pressing need to raise our world profile at the Olympics.

The programme might even have taken “gold” for such a perennially-discussed matter of “national” concern. That is, if the very framing of the discussion, had been a little different.

Except for a faint, late-in-the-innings attempt by ex-Cabinet minister Noel Lynch to remind us that Government needs to also allocate resources to other things like drugs for the QEH etc, there was little emphasis on separating our nation’s needs, from wants.

All speaking and listening should have placed greater emphasis on the fact that the crucial social cohesion, and personal development of individual citizens, does not pivot on Olympic glory alone! To remind us all that available finance (revenue, plus an increasing avalanche of loans) has never been more scarce. And the need to critically assign/allocate resources, should certainly not be inordinately guided by emotions alone!

I would be first to risk my heart bursting with national pride, if a couple of “golds” were to have arrived safely at Grantley Adams International Airport from London. But the gist of the whole endeavour of the programme’s examination was destined to come up a little short, because it omitted the small matter of “what really is essential for national development, in current and foreseen circumstances”.

And what would be “nice to have”. Like, what would be the opportunity cost (read cost/benefit analysis) of taking up $XX millions to hand out to athletes, or other forms of sport, as against using this for some need that is more crucial? I ask this, as the whole discussion seemed to be based on the presumption that it is only success at the Olympics that defines the value of our young people doing well at sports. Which I offer was a lost opportunity to see the much larger picture.

Integral to education

In case anyone might grab for their pen (or weapon) to deal with me as a presumed “sports hater”, let me willingly and quickly confess that school sports were a very important part of my education in Grenada, carried over to many other venues outside of school. And my proudest moment perhaps was a fling of the bat at Granada Boys’ Secondary School second-11 cricket. I lasted just that one match, (no I shall not quote my miserable score) but my human development was very much reinforced by the lessons of sport generally – of winning, of losing, and most particularly, the enhancing of my respect for any opponent.

All of this with nary a thought of representing

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