By Neto Baptiste
Sporting stalwart, Veron Edwards Sr, has made an impassioned plea for the renovating and preserving of the historic Antigua Recreation Grounds (ARG).
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, the former national cricketer and footballer said his heart bleeds whenever he visits the facility and witnesses its dilapidated state. He has called on those in authority to move swiftly to bring the ARG back to his former glory from a structural standpoint.
“Why [have] we ever allowed that to become so dilapidated with all those records in there, with all these tourists who go there?” he queried. “Something is wrong somewhere and we need to get these little things you are speaking about. Even things like records and so forth, we should be able to go somewhere and find records, and if we never kept them, then maybe we should start now.”
Edwards’ plea was the most recent to be made by a long list of individuals who have called for the renovating of the venue which is of rich historical value. Known mostly for its rich cricket history, the ARG is also synonymous with the staging of the country’s annual Carnival celebrations and, within the past three decades, the staging of national and association football matches.
“You don’t have to remove football; football can stay there and carnival can stay in there because even in the days when we had Test cricket, carnival was in there, because it has never been anywhere else — unless we are going to find a special place for carnival. When I say the recreation grounds, I don’t mean they have to close it off, but something has to be done to upgrade it and the upstairs, I don’t know if they still have the board up there with all of the centuries and five-wicket, but what are we going to do, throw it away? We must make a valiant effort to fix up the place,” he said.
The former player has also bemoaned the lack of recognition paid to some of the country’s top sporting individuals.
“I should be able to be going English Harbour or going Dockyard and on my way I see some billboards with Kenneth Benjamin, Winston Benjamin and Rahkeem Cornwall and Eldine Baptiste, so there must be something. These people make these contributions and there is nothing,” Edwards said.
“I shouldn’t have to go the stadium or a monument to see a picture of Viv; some sort of a billboard or something should be all over this country. We know tourists so much and especially the English tourists are so involved with sports and cricket and they go to the Viv Richards stadium. When cricket playing some of them don’t even go sightseeing and I am sure when we go up there we would see how many of them are up there,” he added. Edwards has played both cricket and football for Antigua and Barbuda and was coach of the successful Empire football team during their four-peat championship run spanning 1997 to 2001.