St. John Youth Lack Recreational Programs

Dear Governor deJongh and Other Government Officials,

I would like to address some concerns I have about St John. Recently, I have become aware of the deplorable condition of the basketball court in Cruz Bay and the lack of a facility now in Coral Bay. I can understand the elements causing the Cruz Bay court to flood, but what I can’t understand is why drainage has been and still is the real problem.

The roadway area outside the Cruz Bay court has been in disrepair for years and no drainage system exists although it is within yards of a drainage waterway (Enighed Pond). Not long ago, a playground was donated to the Cruz Bay basketball area and installed by volunteers as was a similar playground near the Guy Benjamin school. My understanding is the basketball court next to the Benjamin school was closed by potential developers who now have title to the Moravian land in Coral Bay.

We see all the ball fields on St John in disrepair where the fields are un-level, the dugouts are falling apart and rarely are mowed. I am concerned because I feel the youth of St. John are being left behind. We are also lacking recreational programs and the one that is most used — basketball — now has flooding problems.

Last year, I started a football league for children because there was a growing need for kids to have activity. Other volunteers started soccer. Both programs have been successful. The volunteers who started these programs as well as the volunteers who installed the donated playgrounds asked for nothing in return except that children have fun.

Last fall my company donated the new wiring for the St. John Recreation Department’s indoor facility. Every year thousands of dollars are donated by St. Johnians to schools and other worthwhile causes.

The point is this: The job of government to ensure that children have recreation programs and facilities and proper educational materials has been partly left to volunteers and philanthropists.

How can this be? Where is the funding to make sure that these programs continue? Why do citizens have to do the job that is clearly the government’s responsibility? Where is the funding going? Who is getting the funds that should be going to St John?

The government’s lack of intervention is frustrating to the citizens of St. John and it is commonplace to hear words of apathy coming from the people. It is as though they have given up hope that the government will do anything and have become used to the status quo. This should not be happening.

I would hope that someone in government would look into the matters of the lack of recreational facilities on St. John and make every attempt to ensure that additional programs are instituted and funded. The children need these activities and although the people of St. John will always do what they can, they can’t do it all.

Please help our children.

Paul Devine
St. John