Government’s negligence with respect to the National Stadium should not continue any longer, says the president of the Barbados Union of Teachers, Pedro Shepherd.
The much-needed refurbishment of the National Stadium has been on the cards for some time with Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley previously stating that Government was working to secure the necessary funds to get work started. Today, Shepherd joined his colleague BSSAC meet director Andrew Brathwaite who only yesterday called for a new national stadium.
The BUT president made it clear today that the National Primary Schools Athletics Championship (NAPSAC) committee was prepared to join forces with the organizers of the Barbados Secondary Schools Athletics Championship (BSSAC) and other relevant parties such as the Amateur Athletics Association and the Barbados Olympic Association to push to have something done about the appalling situation.
“We have to continue to impress upon the Minister of Sports that the National Stadium must not continue to disintegrate due to government’s negligence. But rather the repairs and upgrades must be seen as a national priority,” Shepherd said.
He added: “The underutilization of the National Stadium should not be allowed to continue. Too often we neglect to maintain our structures and eventually the cost is to demolish and rebuild.”
NAPSAC has lost significant revenue due to the unavailability of the stadium and Shepherd pleaded with the private sector to offer government some much needed financial assistance.
“There must be persons out there wealthy enough to offer a hand to Government for national projects like these. NAPSAC has lost significant revenue since the closure of the National Stadium.”
He pointed to the alternative facility the Usain Bolt Sports Complex as not being environmentally friendly and rather uncomfortable, among other underlining factors.
“While the use of the complex [Usain Bolt] has been welcome and appreciated, it is really not the most environmentally friendly or comforting for the NAPSAC clientele. Too many complaints of heat, dust, inadequate coverage and the lights. Let’s work together to ensure that the quality of these championships not be compromised much further. Let us, therefore, join forces with BSSAC, the Triple A [Amateur Athletics Association], Barbados Olympic Association and other interesting parties to lobby government for the rehabilitation work to commence at the National Stadium.”
Present during today’s launch was assistant director of the National Sports Council (NSC) and deputy chairman of NAPSAC, Mona Alleyne, who spoke on behalf of Jerry Blenman, Chief Executive Officer of NSC and Gymnasium Limited.
Alleyne opted not to say much about the facility except to say she too wished to see the Stadium renovated.
“I can’t say a lot on the facility. I too wish for the stadium to improve but I have no say on that at this stage, but we pray for better things and we look to the future because there is always hope in the future and that is as much as I would say regarding that.
“As we continue to move with that Usain Bolt Complex that we are able to improve our presentation more and more and make adequate facilities for the schools, spectators, for all the persons involved, so we can have a comfortable and incident-free 2018 NAPSAC,” Alleyne said.