‘Just the Manner in Which It’s Being Done By UWP!’
AT Tuesday’s Press Conference held at the office of the Leader of the Opposition, former Minister for Youth Development and Sports, Shawn Edward was very critical of the condition of most of the sporting facilities on the island.
“The Saint Lucia Labour Party is extremely disappointed with the current state of affairs in the Youth and Sports fraternity of Saint Lucia”, stated Edward, adding that “The current condition of community sporting infrastructure – playing fields in particular – is totally unacceptable.”
When asked why he opposes the plans of the UWP Administration, in particular, the upgrade or construction of five sports facilities around the island projected to be completed by the middle of next year by The Parker Company, the Dennery North MP stated this:
“It was the St. Lucia Labour party government that constructed the George Odlum Stadium, the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground. So we are not in any way opposed, to the government of Allen Chastanet making resources available to upgrade community infrastructure.”
He continued: “We’re not opposed to the Soufriere facility being upgraded; but we are vehemently opposed to an artificial surface being laid down in Soufriere for a number of reasons that we have mentioned before.”
Edward was adamant, that the artificial turf is typically used in countries too cold to grow grass on natural fields easily, and so we have no need for it here with our tropical climate.
The artificial turf, Edward said, “is not suited to our climatic situation in St. Lucia. These things are more suited to the temperate belt and in the tropics, you can have a lot of problems arising from having a facility of that particular nature.”
SLP’s 2nd Deputy Political Leader, also argued, that it is no good to upgrade a few facilities to a world-class standard, while local playing fields and other facilities are abandoned.
“You must ask the question also; of what good is it for sports development in this country for you to identify two or three facilities that you want to upgrade and you have lovely renderings and drawings and buildings and when you go into the pocket communities of St. Lucia, the majority of the playing fields are abandoned?”
When asked about the funds his Government contributed towards sports while in Office, Edward said that the SLP “Actually had a vision to upgrade a number of facilities” while cautioning that “there must be a sequential order in which these things are supposed to happen”, before reiterating that “it makes absolutely no sense to have two or three facilities which you consider to be of world class standard and the feeder grounds or playing fields” are abandoned.
He went on to mention the Playing Field Maintenance Programme he initiated while in office, and said that $150,000-$200, 000 was being put into it annually.