Manager of the National Stadium, Colin Spencer, believes Barbadians have no respect for that facility.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY during the the final day of the Powerade–sponsored Barbados Secondary Schools Athletics Championships, he said that Barbadians were misusing the facility. Spencer, who has been the manager for a little more than three years, was of the opinion that some people believed because it was Government owned they could do as they please.
He pointed out one sore point was the use of the facility’s space. While noting that he had no difficulties with persons utilising it for training, he said, however, they had to be cognizant that others had also to be accommodated. He recounted an incident which occurred a few Saturdays ago when he had to take to the public announcement system to ask a group to wrap up their training because the Stadium was rented out for the Boys Scout Association to host their sports.
“. . . And people immediately got this attitude like they come on Saturdays to train so they should have been told ahead of time that they would have to move. A senior man started to make all kinds of noise. These people train at the Stadium on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays religiously and are also allowed to come and train on Saturday mornings, free of cost and they are making noise. The only thing they pay for is if they run into the night and have to use light.
“We don’t have a problem with people training, but we don’t always want to have to arrange our work around you. You are coming to train at a facility we are in charge of managing, arrange your time,” Spencer said as he stressed that rental fees assisted with the running of the plant.
He added: “One of the most frequent statements I hear in my three years, six months on this job with respect to everything that you are trying to do differently from the point of improvement, is ‘We have been doing this for the longest time’. I recently spoke to a senior athletics coach whom I saw jumping from the “C” Stand onto the velodrome to cross the track and he told me that ‘Spencer somebody like they trouble you and you come to take it out on me. This has been my short cut for years.’ And this is a coach.
“Now what I have realized is they do not seem to think that part of their coaching should include education and setting an example. That is extremely sad.”
Spencer further noted that the National Stadium was an aging plant which had served Barbadians well but thought the appreciation for it was never there. There was instead too often a lot of unfair and very harsh criticism, Spencer suggested.
“We have problems you would not believe. With people urinating in the tunnel, there are more than enough toilet facilities available for the numbers who frequent the stadium. There are people who have been urinating outside of the window here [the office]. I mean at what time of day or night would persons find to do that. The behaviour by a number of persons who use the stadium is poor and it does not speak to our level of intelligence as a people – ‘It is Government-owned so we will do what we like with it’,” Spencer lamented.
“It seems as though for every problem you have to put it in the newspaper or the radio – people just do not use their judgement. I’ve had some experiences in recent days that are very disturbing. The management of the stadium is extremely difficult, more difficult than the public knows,” he added.