‘Revisit plan for mini stadia’

Opposition Leader Ralph Thorne has urged Government to revisit its plan to build 15 mini stadia, suggesting the concept is “misconceived” and that consideration be given to building fewer such facilities.

“We should think of doing three, one in the north, one in St Michael and one in the east . . . If the effort is to produce more Obadeles and Sada Williamses, please consider three facilities with at least a 200-metre track, four four-lane tracks at these three locations and encourage track and field in Barbados,” Thorne suggested to Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Development Charles Griffith when the minister and his team returned to the Well of the House of Assembly last Tuesday for continuing debate on the 2024 Estimates.

Thorne first sought clarification on Government’s concept of mini stadia according to the plan announced by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley in last year’s Budgetary Proposals.

Responding, Senior Superintendent of Works with the ministry, Nicholas Matthias, explained the concept of mini stadia was to embrace those specific sports which Thorne had suggested should be located such a facility.

He said the mini stadium as conceptualised was “an area that can be secured against people coming on to the field, [who] may disrupt anything that is going on; anything that anyone using the areas at night can feel more secure in utilising the facility; that also allows for sporting teams to practise at night.”

Thorne admitted that generally, he had no objection to mini stadia being built around the island. However, he said: “I am told that the transformation is fencing the geographical recreational area. I wonder if the ministry would consider revisiting that idea.” 

He contended that the recreational area “must feel like an organic part of the community,” adding that: “Our best recreational areas are those areas contained within villages, within communities . . . the minute you build a fence, you are really separating it from the community.”

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