By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA), Everton Cornelius, has strongly denied claims he withheld an email from contractors, C.O. Williams, who are currently carrying out civil works on the country’s lone track and field facility, the YASCO Sports Complex.
“The 5th of May, I checked my computer [email] and an email came, it came in two parts with one part saying ‘the track’ and two parts or attachments which has all of the specifications and the drawings for the rest of the works to be done on the track,” he said.
“I called the contractor and asked did you receive an email from Michael? [Mondo rep] because the email on my account has my name and your name. He said yes and I left it at that. I went ahead and sent it off to the printer and printed a set of the drawings for me because I know the two persons who were to have the drawings already has them which are the contractor and me. I don’t know anybody else down there who can read the drawings and tell me well, this and that, so I made sure I kept that so when the contractor and I are speaking we know exactly what we are speaking about,” he added.
Recent reports had indicated that Cornelius received an email from track surface manufacturers Mondo in May containing updated specifics on the civil works but did not turn over the email to the contractors.
Cornelius said this is “absolutely false” as the email would have had no bearing on the works questioned by the Mondo technician two weeks ago.
“To be honest with you, the drawing themselves had no impact on where we are today, none whatsoever because there is no work going on at the track. I got it [updated specs] on the 5th of May and we met sometime week-before-the-last and no work had been going on at the track since April for reasons they all know,” the athletics boss said.
“We don’t have the equipment for the long jump system in place, we don’t have the equipment for the pole vault, we don’t have the equipment for the water jump, we don’t have the equipment for the shot put and we don’t have the equipment for the hammer throw. We just ordered them, they just shipped Friday. They know we don’t have these things hence one of the reasons no work is going on at the track, has nothing to do with no drawings,” he added.
Cornelius, a technician by profession, said above all involved, he is amongst those with the most to lose if the project is delayed further.
“Nobody who is involved in the track could have a greater impact in YASCO than I do so why would I have something that is going to slow up the work at YASCO, that can’t make no sense in the world. What I asked them to do is to just be honest with the public and let someone who understands the technicality of the track, explain to them what is to be explained to the public, that’s what they need to do and quit going to the public and telling the public it is going to finish in this time and in that time. It doesn’t work like that,” he said.
Last week, Minister of Sports Daryll Matthew, confirmed that Mondo’s technician, by way of email, asked that “minor changes” are carried out on some aspects of the ongoing civil works. This, the minister added however, should not affect “the ability for us to have a fully commissioned and sanctioned track by Mondo.”