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Needless Embarrassments

Needless Embarrassments

It is not possible to overlook the opinion that a stable political system shapes the development of any region. But with the “There Today, Here Tomorrow” type of politics influencing the so-called leaders, governance in Goa has taken a sound beating.

Insisting on offices that they have no sound knowledge about, some of the ministers in the current ruling have depended on the sycophancy of their cronies in the department to help them hold on to and to assert their myopic views.

Why is it that the administration always wakes up late to realities even after they have been staring it rather lucidly in the face for quite some time! There cannot be a sane explanation to this observation.

At a time when Goa is tottering at the brink of despair vis-à-vis the poor tourist arrivals in the state, it is difficult to comprehend the magnitude of the adverse impact the collapse of the iconic British travel firm will have on its tourism industry.

With British tourists constituting nearly 30 per cent of the international tourist turnover in Goa, it is indeed a matter of concern that the demise of the travel giant Thomas Cook could deliver a major blow to the state’s tourism sector.

However, many are of the view that as compared to the foreign footfalls in the state, it is the domestic arrivals that has somehow sustained tourism in Goa for quite some years now.

Hence one would have thought while projecting Goa as that destination for the country’s inbound travel by domestic tourists, the state administration would have envisaged a blueprint for a rich tourist experience and fulfilment of the guests flocking to Goa.

But unfortunately it appears that Goa is just not able to shed the image of a sex and narcotic haven that it seems to have inadvertently cultivated for itself over the years.

Nor does the shocking ‘nude party’ advertisement circulated lately on social media platforms dispel any notions of the state being anything but a land of vices and pleasure!

With the clarity with which the ‘promoters’ have publicized various ‘features’ of their lilting programme, outsiders could be pardoned for believing that such ‘shows’ are regular in Goa.

It is nonetheless difficult to imagine the locals having anything to do with these high-profile ‘extravaganzas’.

The audacity with which the organizers have gone about publicizing the whole range of ‘activities’ available at the alleged nude pool party in Goa so brazenly indicates the complicity of a few influential and powerful individuals from the state without whose able support such plans can never materialize.

The very fact that the venue and the telephone number displayed on the poster which when verified confirmed that the organizers are operating from the national capital lends further credence to the belief.

It is indeed shameful to have a few vested interests mutilating the very concept of ‘a land of fun and frolic’ to mean everything vulgar under the sun and in the bargain tarnishing the fair name of Goa.   

The advertisement about the private Goa party supposed to have been held somewhere along the Morjim-Ashwem road informing the participation of ’10-15 foreigners’ and ‘more than 10 Indian girls’ in the event has however added another tainted chapter in Goa’s infamous history of unethical tourism.

The police with its intricate network of informers should have been keeping tabs on such events, or even any pretensions about holding one, considering the spate of immoral activities along the northern coastal belt that has been giving Goa a bad name.

Yet, fly-by-night operators continue to relish the prospects of exploiting the bountiful conditions thanks to the cultural vistas available.

Are we then to believe that the police have absolutely no inkling whatsoever about these shady happenings - or about plans afoot to host any - that keeps the press and social media abuzz 24x7?

Goa can in fact boast of one of the best police forces in the country today. But when pressures are brought upon them by their political masters to look the other way or go easy with their investigations, it is the integrity and the sincerity of the police force that is almost always questioned.

Let us take the latest scandal that rocked the Goa Swimming Association for instance!

With the arrest of the swimming coach accused of raping a 15-year-old girl who was training with him, the Goa Police has shown its alacrity in bringing to book the perpetrator of a shameful crime who needs to be awarded an exemplary punishment for the dishonourable act. 

But it is the administration once again which has come a cropper in the whole affair! 

The manner in which the sports minister has gone about condemning the shocking incident of molestation alleged by a minor girl trainee against her coach sounds like utterances of a ranting head of the department who is as much in the dark about the functioning of his department as are his minions.

Are we to infer that the sports ministry was all along allowing its premises to be used by various associations without verifying the antecedents of all coaches employed!

Assurances to the contrary now sounds like apologetic replies on the face of a barrage of unanswered questions on the sorry state of affairs in the ministry of sports and youth affairs headed by him.

Considering that it is not the first time that the sporting fraternity in the state is rocked by scandals involving coaches and their misdemeanours, it was pertinent to have various sporting bodies closely monitoring the conduct of the coaches and their behaviour towards their charges.

But what were the steps envisaged!

Allegations that officials in the Goa Swimming Association knew that all was not well and yet had to wait for a girl swimmer to complain before galvanizing into action speaks for the ennui that has crept into such sporting organizations.

Only bringing laurels to the state and country should cease to be the criteria for managing bodies of various sporting associations. A disciplined outlook is the need of the hour which will ensure a methodical approach to the whole regimen of training.

From the very outset it needs to be emphasized that the appointment of coaches in any sporting discipline is more vital than the selection of the team members, especially so when the coach has to content with young teens as wards under his charge.

While the demands for ensuring gender parity in coaching staff by employing more female coaches is justified, the insensitivity of Goa’s sports ministry and officialdom towards the risk of sexual abuse of athletes by trainers which has come to light with the SAG having no policy in place to recruit female coaches in any discipline has come as an alarming expose!

Thanks to these ‘political inconsistencies’, Goa continues to face needless embarrassments.

(Published on 14th October 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 42)