St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): On the heels of much controversy, the St. Kitts Cricket Association has come forward to explain why the Under 15 cricket team did not attend the Leeward Islands Youth Cricket Tournament this year.
The tournament took place April 8 to 13 in Anguilla. Team St. Kitts would have been the defending champions this year.
Initial reports were that the team did not participate due to a lack of funds, among other things.
According to Dennis Phillip, President of the St. Kitts Cricket Association, the team was unable to take part in the tournament not because there wasn’t enough money to send the youngsters, but mainly because of poor organization.
Mr. Phillip told WINN FM the Association had allocated funds for traveling to the tournament but decided to use the money for a development program for the young cricketers instead. He said the decision not to send the team was based on a number of reasons, some of which had to do with the organizers of tournament.
“Travel and accommodations were roughly eighteen thousand to twenty thousand dollars, not budgetary constraints necessarily because we are going to use the funds that we allocated to travel to implement a program. We were not completely satisfied with the arrangements. Hours before, days before we had no knowledge of where the kids are going to be staying. In terms of travel, in even trying to book the kids we had trouble of getting all of them sent out, they would have had to be sent out in groups. It would have meant that some kids would have had to travel without adult supervision. Based on the airline space, the seat availability. And based on concerns of parents, some parents who indicated to us that they were not quite comfortable with kids in school rooms. In addition to that, many of the kids were not prepared in terms of having or passports and even gear. And so, the Association making a decision thought that it would be best that we not participate this year.”
Mr. Philip says that normally the Cricket Association is only responsible for funding for the athletes and coaches to travel and stay in the host countries. The coaches from the various schools on the island oversee the organization of the team.
President Phillip added that the Leeward Islands Cricket Association usually organizes the accommodations for the countries and then demands a fee for participation, however, it ceased that program and made the countries organize their own arrangements this year.
The Association’s decision not to participate this year was a point of contention for some parents. A few complained to WINN FM that they were given short notice that the team was not going to the event, with one parent even saying that she was only notified the day before the planned departure.
Phillip explained that the organization made the decision not to go three to four days before the event, however, as the association only notified the coaches of the decision in hopes that they would tell the children and parents, it is possible that parents were only told the trip was cancelled the day before.
Phillip says that St. Kitts was not the only team that did not compete in this year’s tournament- Montserrat and Nevis were also absent from the event.