Wither Jets, Hawks, and Civic?

Author: 
Roy Dereck McCree
Date Published: 
1995
Source: 
The Social Roles of Sport in Caribbean Societies
Page: 
173,176-177

Chapter 8
Conflict, Continuity And Change In The Organization Of Sport In A Trinidad Community: The Case of Point Fortin, 1970-1993

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

In the 1970s and for the first half of the 1980s, the Point Fortin Civic Center soccer team, the Hawks basketball team, and the Jets track and field squad were leading forces in their respective national competitions. In the 1980s the teams almost simultaneously underwent an unprecedented level of decline. The nature and direction of this decline were not uniform. Hawks, for instance, disbanded as a sporting entity while the others have managed to survive. A prevalent view in the community is that the decline of Jets and Civic resulted, in part, from the actions of two government-owned entities, the Point Fortin Civic Centre (PFCC), under whose direct authority the teams fall, and the Trinidad and Tobago Oil Company (Trintoc), which attracted Point Fortin athletes to its own sport teams. This chapter details the decline of the Point Fortin teams and examines the various pressures, constraints, limitations, choices, and possibilities faced by athletes and officials involved in sport at the community level in the period 1970-1993.

[excerpt]

The Point Fortin Civic Centre

The Point Fortin Civic Centre (PFCC, or the Centre) came into being in 1967 when the Shell Oil Company, based in Point Fortin, handed over their sport facilities which comprised three lawn tennis courts, a basketball court, a soccer field, an athletic track and a stand seating up to 700 spectators. The Centre also contains a set of administrative offices as part of the complex.

In its original conceptions, the Centre was open to all residents of the County of St. Patrick. It is a membership organization, with a registration fee and monthly dues: adult members pay 25 cents per month and junior members pay 15 cents. These fees have not changed since the Centre's inception. The Centre's primary role is to promote "the improvement of the intellectual, moral, physical and cultural capabilities of the people of the County" (Constitution of the PFCC 1983:1) through various cultural and educational programmes. The Centre's structure caters for a number of sports and games which are organized in terms of Sections, viz., Football Section, Basketball Section, Track and Field Section, Billiards Section, etc. The teams Civic, Hawks (until its withdrawal in 1980), and Jets had represented the football, basketball and track and field sections respectively. The PFCC comes under the authority of the Ministry of Community and Local Development and is directly funded by the Government.

Trintoc

On August 30, 1974, the Shell Oil Company was nationalized. This marked the birth of Trintoc. In 1985, with the government purchase of the Texaco Oil Company, Trintoc was transformed into a larger, more complex organizational, industrial, and commercial entity. In 1993, Trintoc merged with another southern-based, state-owned oil company, Trintopec, to form Petrotrin. Trintoc, therefore, no longer exists as a legal entity. This merger is part of the state policy objective to rationalize the energy sector in a context of declining levels of crude oil production and declining international prices for oil. Through the merger, the aim is to optimize the oil exploration, production, refining, and international marketing capability of Trinidad and Tobago.

Trintoc began its involvement in the sporting life of Point Fortin and the nation in 1976 when it initiated the annual Trintoc Games. Trintoc's sporting involvement deepened in 1981 when its soccer team entered the Fourth Division of the National Soccer League (NSL). The team won its Division in its début year and secured a succession of championships, including those of the Third Division in 1982, the Second Division in 1983, and the South Zonal League in 1984. In 1985, Trintoc placed second in the First Division of the NSL, and in 1986 won the NSL First Division. After Trintoc's ascension to the First Division of the NSL, the controversial movement of some of the Civic players to Trintoc's team began.

In 1984, Trintoc established the Trintoc Athletic Club (TAC) which won the Trintoc Games in 1986 and 1987. Following the establishment of the TAC in 1984, a similar movement of some of Jets' athletes over to the TAC occured. Trintoc played no role in the decline of Hawks, which disbanded in 1985. However, in the following year Trintoc established a basketball team.