St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN); Minister of Youth and Sports, Deputy Prime Minister Shawn Richards went on record Thursday (Apr 13) to refute charges that the Ministry of Sports and himself were somehow responsible for the Under 15 Cricket Team not traveling to Anguilla to defend the championship in the Leeward Islands Tournament.
After WINN FM reported Wednesday (Apr 12) that the local Under 15 team had not been able to participate in the regional tournament this year due to financial constraints and other issues, Opposition parliamentarian Konris Maynard accused the government of “withholding funds” and “denying” the children the opportunity to travel for the matches.
The Deputy Prime Minister explained that he knew nothing of the matter since the Ministry of Sports was not involved, and the St. Kitts Cricket Association as was the custom, was responsible for the undertaking. He said he was only made aware that there was an issue when someone called and informed him that Maynard had blamed him personally and the government for the team not being able to travel to Anguilla.
“I wasn’t aware of it. There had been no discussions with the St. Kitts Cricket Association. When I was told what was said, immediately I called my Permanent Secretary- that’s the most senior technical officer within the Ministry. He in turn called the Director of Sports to see if perhaps the information had reached before the Director but for one reason or the other hadn’t reached before him; and I think that is the responsible thing to do.
“Similarly, when both of them said that was the case [the team had not traveled] I called executive members of the Cricket Association to ascertain what had transpired.”
The Minister said he was given an explanation by the Association which indicated that there had been problems with accommodation in the host country, problems making the travel arrangements and other issues, but not that there was any problems financing travel for the young cricketers.
Richards stressed that it is impossible for him to be aware of everything that transpires in the country, especially if persons responsible do not relate information to him.
“I am not God. I do not know everything and I will not pretend to know everything. If it is that information comes before me and I neglect or refuse to respond, then that is a totally different situation, and as such I would accept responsibility because it would mean that I would have refused to act. I would have been negligent in terms of my responsibility to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
A caller to Freedom’s Issues saw things differently. He maintained that the Minister should have known what was taking place.
WINN FM spoke with Sports Permanent Secretary Stanley Knight who also confirmed that the Cricket Association was the entity responsible for organizing the team’s participation, and not the Ministry of Sports.
In an interview with WINN FM, Dennis Phillip, President of the St. Kitts Cricket Association made it clear that “the kids not going had nothing to do with government”.
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