Sta­dium shame

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - News - Na­tional Sta­dium Na­tional Sta­dium Na­tional Sta­dium

THE 2019 TRACK AND FIELD SEA­SON is about to of­fi­cially start.

To­mor­row, the first meet is ex­pected to take place at the while se­condary schools’ in­ter-house sports start on Fe­bru­ary 1.

Sadly, af­ter all this time, the Na­tional Sta­dium is still in a de­plorable state, its im­pos­ing struc­ture now stand­ing with­out a roof. The lat­est re­port on the Sta­dium, as far as con­struc­tion work is con­cerned, is that work­men were lift­ing the gal­vanised sheet cov­er­ing off four of the stands.

It is now six years too long that schools and or­gan­is­ers have been with­out the use of this fa­cil­ity. As a re­sult, track and field meets have had to be ac­com­mo­dated at the Usain Bolt Sports Com­plex, which has also had its fair share of is­sues al­ready vented by sport­ing of­fi­cials.

So here we are back at square one in 2019.

Prom­ises were made by the Min­is­ter of Sport in the for­mer Demo­cratic Labour Party Gov­ern­ment that Bar­ba­dos would re­ceive an ul­tra-mod­ern fa­cil­ity. At the time, it was to be fa­cil­i­tated through a grant from the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China, but Chi­nese of­fi­cials then de­clared they could not fi­nance such a pro­ject un­til 2020.

While the cur­rent Bar­ba­dos Labour

Party Gov­ern­ment did not specif­i­cally ad­dress the in its man­i­festo, Min­is­ter of Sports John King has been quoted in the press as say­ing that Bar­ba­dos could ex­pect to see a new mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar fa­cil­ity in 2022.

King has since moved the time­line for com­ple­tion of the Sta­dium to the end of 2019. In an in­ter­view last Au­gust, he said THE DE­CAY­ING gal­vanised sheets were taken off the roof of the Clarence Jem­mott Stand at the Na­tional Sta­dium re­cently. this coun­try would see a fin­ished fa­cil­ity be­fore the end of the year, adding they were cur­rently in dis­cus­sions with some en­ti­ties.

It is time Bar­ba­di­ans and ath­letes and those in­volved in sports see some progress made to com­plete the work at the Sta­dium. It does not only stick out now like an eye­sore, but should also be a source of some em­bar­rass­ment for this coun­try.

How could we be short-chang­ing our ath­letes, coaches and those who lend their sup­port to those who are look­ing to hone their skills and rep­re­sent Bar­ba­dos in the in­ter­na­tional sport­ing arena?

How could we also not be mov­ing with some haste and do­ing all in our power to en­sure that the widely an­tic­i­pated Bar­ba­dos Se­condary Schools Ath­letic Cham­pi­onships, as well the Na­tional Pri­mary Schools Ath­letic Cham­pi­onships, be both staged at their orig­i­nal home?

The is an em­bar­rass­ment, and ev­ery ef­fort must be made to re­turn this fa­cil­ity to its glory days, a time when lo­cal track and field ath­letes did not only clock their best times, but some of the best from around the world com­peted here, cheered and cel­e­brated by spec­ta­tors.

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