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A THORNY ISSUE: Let NSC team do their jobs


ANDI THORNHILL, [email protected]

A THORNY ISSUE: Let NSC team do their jobs

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IF THERE WAS INSTRUCTION INVOLVED in solving a recent primary school netball issue, I’m against it fully.

If it is so, this would be the second year running that there has been an intervention and it is giving the bad impression that those hired to work on behalf of the National Sports Council (NSC) aren’t competent to do the job.

If this is the feeling, then they should be sent home and replaced by those who, it is felt, would do a better job. Otherwise, leave them to function independently.

Seriously, it brings shame and public ridicule on those officers who can’t seem to make a decision in peace unless someone steps in and overturns it. It can’t be right to make those involved look small in the eyes of their peers and the public at large.

They stand to lose respect while diminishing their morale all at once.

Imagine they had even gone as far as putting out fixtures for this year’s event, then to be told that there should be no restriction on how many players can participate and the ministerial instruction from last year remains intact.

It is known that the Minister of Sport intervened last year when there was some resistance from a handful of coaches about who was eligible to play in a school’s A and B team.

I thought that its prominence in the media led to the mistaken belief it was on par with a national crisis. I suppose that was the main reason Minister Stephen Lashley thought he had to put a halt to the controversy, and he did.

Verbal agreement

The bad thing about the entire scenario is that at a pre-season meeting with the schools, it appeared that there was a verbal agreement by the majority to go with the plan of the NSC organisers, only for that to be challenged by a handful once the tournament started.

That’s how the controversy began and escalated to the point where every day there was sustained tension between the NSC coaches and representatives from some schools. The strife was definitely a poor advertisement for the tournament and a slap in the face of the long-term sponsors.

I got the impression that expedience on the part of some played a major role in the upheaval, simply because the NSC didn’t put anything in writing that was agreed to at the pre-season meeting. Hence, they were open to manipulation and boxed into a corner from which there was no rescue.

You could view the Minister of Sport’s intervention from two angles. He either wanted to genuinely save the face of the tournament or that he sided with the disgruntled coaches. I would rather believe the former because I don’t know him to have any links with any particular school and, even if he did, I know him to be a man of integrity and he wouldn’t make a decision to favour one side and not the next.

29 abstentions

This year, as is the norm, there was another pre-season meeting with the stakeholders and it is my understanding that there was a 15-6 majority agreeing with the NSC proposal that schools would only be allowed one team in the competition.

There were 29 abstentions and that to my mind made a very profound statement. The long and short, though, is that the majority should rule unless there were discrepancies with the voting process. I didn’t hear of any, so it can be argued that on principle, the NSC regulation should have remained in place based on the outcome of the vote. Legal authorities would have greater insight about such a determination than a layman like me.

Interim chief executive officer of the NSC, Jerry Blenman, sent out a memo overturning what the workers under his charge received as a mandate from a majority of constituents who attended the meeting.

It doesn’t appear that Blenman had any initial objections to the new plan, so who or what would have given him a change of heart with all the logistics already in place to get the competition going?

I feel in a case like this, the workers should receive the full backing from their boss but it’s easy for me say because I’m not wearing his shoes.

I have already gone on record as saying that I don’t agree with the one-team policy but at the same time, the professional workers of the NSC must be allowed to do their work.

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