Government is erecting another life-size statue of National Hero and international cricket legend Sir Garfield Sobers, who already stands memorialized in bronze at the entrance to the world-renowned mecca of Caribbean cricket, Kensington Oval.
Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Stephen Lashley told the House of Assembly today the second statue would be erected on the grounds of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex at Wildey, St Michael, earmarked for transformation into an international sports hub.
The House was considering a resolution to grant a 25-year lease of 25,000 square feet of land adjoining the complex to the Rotary Club of Barbados South for the construction of a sporting facility for children with disabilities.
Altogether, 26.4 hectares surrounding and including the complex will be developed under a project which is slated to begin in April 2016, with an $18.4 million refurbishment of the complex, including the Gymnasium, with Chinese assistance. As a result, the complex will be closed for 14 months.
Besides the second statue of Sir Garry, Lashley said the upgrade includes the establishment of a Sporting and Entertainment Wall of Fame. “The Sporting and Entertainment Wall of Fame should be so done that it pays tribute in a profound way to the contribution of Sir Gary Sobers,” he said.
He said the wall “will comprise photos of sporting icons and celebrities who perform at the gymnasium, but a specific area is intended to be designed to highlight the contribution of Sir Garry”. He said that among those highlights will be the statue.
According to the Minister, approximately 10.8 hectares of the complex’s land has so far been allocated for various sports and another 5.4 is under consideration, leaving 10.1 for accommodation of up to five sports projects similar in size to those there now, and planned.
He said that the resolution to lease land to Rotary is for that organization to construct a facility holding a maximum of 30 to 40 children at a time. It will be “designed as an indoor recreation facility that will facilitate indoor sports, cultural activities and educational activities for the children”.
“It would include a sensor room with light and sound stimulation; a soft-padded room with a half regulation-size basketball court, a playground with … slides, swings tunnels … that will facilitate activities by both the disabled and able-bodied,” he added.
“The model which has been put forward by Rotary, though intended to benefit and to send a signal of the inclusive response to our disabled children, is designed to bring in one location a facility that can benefit, not only differently-abled children, but those that have not been born with any physical disabilities,” Lashley added.