The over 70 sporting facilities identified across the island could soon benefit from better maintenance.
Word of this has come from Minister of Sport Stephen Lashley, who announced that his ministry was currently reviewing a maintenance policy that has been proposed by the National Sports Council.
He did not say how soon the new policy was expected to be in place, but pointed out that it should address a range of areas including fertilization of fields, field repairs, pitch management, flood-lights and beautification.
“I have done a tour, not of all, but of a selection of facilities, and I am satisfied that there is a basis to move towards a very comprehensive maintenance strategy,” said Lashley.
He was contributing to the debate in Parliament on Tuesday on a resolution for government to acquire just about 1107 square feet of land in Brighton, St George.
“That policy, I am currently reviewing, and I will place that policy at the National Sports Council for execution. What I can say is that certainly the policy will entail a new focus in relation to the question of maintenance of our facilities. We recognize and do admit that there is a problem in relation to the maintenance of several of our facilities. It is a fact that there is a maintenance challenge that we have to deal with, but we have responded by a plan of action that will certainly put into perspective, the need to look at these facilities,” assured Lashley.
He said “quite a number” of the facilities have “suffered at the hands of vandalism” over the years, saying that while he condemns the practice it was necessary to “rebuild them” once funds permit.
He explained that under the new policy the island would be divided into “about five zones for ease of management”.
Each zone will be serviced by a zonal supervisor with a team to be responsible for the upkeep, he said.
In addition to the maintenance policy there will be grounds and hard court guidelines.
“A critical component” of the policy, said Lashley, will be a partnership with the private sector, which will include branding of the facility “in exchange for a maintenance programme to be funded by those corporate sponsors who we are having discussions with”.
“In addition to that we are very keen, and written into the draft policy will be a community partnership porgramme, which will entail getting our sporting clubs and various community partners involved in a joint maintenance of our facilities,” he said.
In relation to the national stadium, Lashley described it as a disgrace, noting that the Government was now faced with finding “millions of dollars” to repair it.
“It really makes me ashamed that in difficult economic times this government is being called upon to place money at the disposal of the National Sports Council to deal with facilities that really with proper weekly maintenance could have been dealt with,” said Lashley.