Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 10th 2015 Contents A52
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, November 10, 2015
This country s
been dealt a serious
blow due to the
major sports facil-
ities costing the
treasury millions in
says Sports Minis-
ter Darryl Smith.
states and interna-
tional sporting organ-
isations were still enquiring about the possibility
of having access to the Brian Lara Stadium, National
Cycling Velodrome, the George Bovell Aquatic Cen-
tre and National Tennis Centre and even the Dwight
Yorke Stadium in Tobago, post September 7, for
their pre-Rio, Brazil 2016 Olympic preparation, the
minister lamented in a T&T Guardian interview,
they all needed work.
The Dwight York Stadium, which was by no
means new, however, was in need of remedial work.
Millions in revenue estimated by the former Peo-
ple s Partnership Government from foreign countries
desirous of setting up camps on local soil, en route
to the Rio 2016 Olympic in Brazil, had been lost
as once interested parties have redirected their
business elsewhere, leading up to the Games.
"...inherited problem! That should have been
thought out and planned before. Again, (it s) only
a month plus since we have been there (in gov-
There is nothing that we could do. We are trying
our best to ensure that they are completed, but
more importantly, that the maintenance contracts,
the tendering process, is put in place.
Again, that was poor management from the for-
mer administration. They know Olympics was com-
ing up," he said. Smith added, "They should have
speeded up things, but instead they pushed certain
things for elections gimmick: cutting of ribbons
in certain places and so on, when they should have
focused and realised that whoever was in govern-
ment, the people of T&T would have benefitted
with regards to utilising these arenas. We talk about
A lot of countries and sports organisation have
asked about them, but they are not completed.
This is where the focus should have been."
With respect to the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarou-
ba, Smith said he planned to meet with Housing
Minister Marlene Mc Donald and Noel Garcia,
chairman of the Urban Development Company
Limited (Udecott) to explore ways to cease the
hemorrhaging of tax-payers funds and ultimately
save the project.
He said the Keith Rowley-led administration had
to ensure that no more tax-payer funds were wasted
and as a consequence something positive had to
"At this point I can t comment because I have
never seen it. It s under Udecott. The ministry of
sport has no drawings, no plans. So we have to
have that meeting and we do a formal (site) visit.
We will let the public know what we plan to do
with it. I am the most optimistic person that you ll
meet and I m really hoping that everything was
done with good intentions.
At the end of the day, I think we really wanted
cricket to be at played there at the highest level,
so it may be that they (the previous government)
would have had some issue," said Smith.
He continued, "Five years passed and nothing
was done. Whether it was political or not, I don t
know what were their plans. Just like a number of
other projects throughout T&T: the Diego Martin
Northern Grounds, Mahaica Oval (Point Fortin),
Smith: Millions lost in pre-Olympic revenue
and a number of other projects, even
National Academy for the Performing Arts
(NAPA). Look at NAPA? All of a sudden
it s shut down because of no maintenance.
That s for another place, another debate.
All I know is the Brian Lara Stadium will
be looked at and the best decision will be
made for the tax payers of T&T."
Whatever the challenges were associated
with those projects they were all inherited,
he said, and went onto slam the Kamla
Persad-Bissessar-led administration over
Any layman, said Smith, would have
known when constructing structures such
as those mentioned, maintenance contracts
had to be put into effect.
"That wasn t put in place. So right now
those (facilities) are almost completed: 86,
95, 98 per cent completed and there is no
There is no way we could have a handing
over process without a proper tendering
process with regards to who is going to
maintain it, because by the time you get
that handing over, the clock start ticking.
Who is going to be maintaining it? Who
is going to be ensuring that the track is
okay, the air conditioning is working, the
lights are working and so on. So we now
moving feverishly trying to put a tendering
process in place to take care of the national
centres maintained," said the minister.
He continued, "We have the Olympics
around the corner.
We want to make sure that the Olympic
prospects would be able to use the cycling
track, the swimming pool and so on, but
they have to be completed. They haven t
been handed over as yet.
But being proactive as I am and the
ministry is we are trying quickly to get
the maintenance contracts so when that
day comes, we could have it opened right
Sports Minister Darryl Smith
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