KINGSTOWN, ST. VINCENT AND THWE GRENADINES; TUESDAY JUNE 27, 2017 – “We do not see ourselves as sponsors. We see ourselves as partners,” was the opening statement by Dougal James – a Winlott director.

He was speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon hosted by the local organising committee for the 2017 CBN/WINLOTT-sponsored Windward Islands School Games.

According to James, no one approached Winlott with a product which would have lifted Winlott’s profile. It was at a meeting of Winlott’s directors that the decision was taken to sponsor the event which would contribute to the socio-economic development of the islands.

Winlott saw its contribution as being small so their service provider Canadian Bank Note was approached. However the EC$400,000.00 dollars in sponsorship is “not enough to carry the tournaments.”

James told the media that the governments of the four Windward Islands alone cannot make it the Windward Islands Schools Games happen, and that education and sports go hand in hand for a fit nation is a healthier nation.

He pointed out that WINLOTT as the financial contributors have concerns, and “everyone need to get their act together.”

The WINLOTT director pointed out that as financial investors WINLOTT wants to know that there is a maximising of the returns, and WINLOTT haver been clamouring for the setting up of a Central Committee to manage the Games, and that standards should be the same and should not differ island to island.

Acting Chief Education Officer and chairperson of the local organising committee Elizabeth Walker

Also addressing the assembled media was Acting Chief Education Officer and chairperson of the local organising committee Elizabeth Walker, who spoke of the history of the games, its meaning, and of the various sporting disciplines to be contested and at which venue.

It is the sixth time that St. Vincent and the Grenadines would be hosting the Games since CBN/WINLOTT sponsorship began in 1987, and according to Walker, the Games are for the development of skills by the student athletes.

Rosmund Griffith – Education Officer for Physical Education and Sport in the Ministry of Education, stated that the local organising committee was still in discussion with the other participating territories namely Dominica, Grenada, and Saint Lucia on the arrival fo delegations on July 21, and departure on July 30th 2017.

She mentioned that the five national sporting organisations are involved in the planning, with the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force to provide security.

The venues to be used are the Arnos Vale Cricket Ground, the Arnos Vale hard courts, the Girls’ High School court, the Georgetown Playing Field and hard court, and the Keurtons hard court.

It is the responsibility of the Department of Physical Education and Sports in ensuring that the Games be managed and officiated properly. This was pointed out by Woodrow Williams the technical officer for the 2017 Windward Islands School Games, when he took his turn at the podium.

Williams added that the Department is in the process of putting together a work plan for the Games, and refurbishing is being done at a number of venues.

Athletics will be on the third day of competition, a change from the past, and “as it is right now all systems are go for us,” Williams further stated.

The 2017 Windward Islands School Games will be held July 22 – 29, 2017 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with over about 250 student athletes competing in athletics, football, basketball – male and female, volleyball – male and female, and netball.