TOBAGO’S sporting facilities that have been neglected over the years are expected to be spruced up by March.
THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine gave the commitment on Friday at the unveiling of the Shaw Park Complex Indoor Sports Floor.
“Given that we are in the dry season, the executive took a decision at the last executive council meeting that one of the priority areas in this fiscal quarter, meaning in this first three months of 2023, will be to pay some attention to our sporting facilities in particular,” he said in an address.
“We want to clean up all of our basketball courts around the island, some overgrown with weeds and vines, install backboards, have the courts power-washed, have the lines re-painted. Those are simple things, not building a new court but maintaining what we have.”
Augustine lamented the country’s penchant for not maintaining its infrastructure.
“One of the challenges we have as a country is that we seem to not be able to maintain anything So we build a set of things all over the place and then they fall into disrepair soon after because we don’t spend enough resources maintaining them.”
He said apart from the basketball/netball courts, playing fields will also be spruced up with top soil and lights in some cases.
Augustine said the Indoor Sports Floor will be the venue for several events at the upcoming Commonwealth Youth Games from August 1-7.
He added a decision will be taken next week with respect to the venues for the beach events during the tournament.
“Coming out of the youth games, we want to have what is known as a legacy in that we are not trying to set things up just for a temporary use and when the youth games have gone, we no longer use them. We putting things in motion that can be used for a longer term.”
Augustine said the court was installed largely with the help of volunteers.
“This floor that you see behind me was always here stacked up in a cupboard or in a room somewhere in the back, not used, underutilised but just there taking dust somewhere and with sufficient will power they were able to unravel it and pieced it together perfectly across two days.
“But the time for set up will be four hours. So subsequent to this (unveiling) it will take them only about four hours because the pieces are numbered and some rubber hammers were used to install it perfectly.”
Augustine said the THA was told that the floor was not level enough to accommodate the court.
“But it speaks to perhaps a larger problem that we have, we seem to be an island that likes to put things up and leave them to go to waste even after spending taxpayers money on it.
“Maybe it is because we grow up with old people where we accustomed to putting the fine china in a closet, wash them once a year and put them back and never, never use them. And by the time you really ready to use them they dry rot and they no longer good. We are going to use it.”
Shaw Park executive coordinator Kern Cowan said the court will be used strictly for tournaments and not for training sessions. He added a policy is still being devised to govern its use.
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