By Neto Baptiste
The terms and conditions under which the public will be allowed to utilise the YASCO Sports Complex upon its completion cannot solely be determined by the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA).
This is according to the country’s Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, who said a pronouncement by president of the athletics association Everton Cornelius back in February this year that members of the public will more than likely be charged to use the facility for exercise purposes was pre-mature, as there had been no talks with the minister.
“The plan for YASCO has been and remains that it will be managed between both entities. The athletics association (and obviously they are the biggest beneficiaries of it) and so it only stands to reason that they will have daily oversight of the facility. However, bigger strategic decisions such as, what would be the protocols for persons coming in and using — and we understand the damage done to the track by casual users — and that it must be managed and maintained in a particular way, but that is a discussion that will take place between both the Ministry of Sports and the athletics association,” he said.
YASCO, the country’s lone track and field facility, has been closed to both athletes and members of the public for over two years as work is being carried out to lay an internationally recognised surface while adding a number of events previously unavailable to the country’s athletes.
Matthew said, however, there has been no official discussion on the matter as yet.
“We speak very casually about some plans that we have but in terms of sitting down and documenting the proposals, that has not been done as yet because we believe we are still a little ways off from that. So, apart from the surface of the track going down you have bathroom and changing room facilities that need to go in,” he said.
In a recent interview, Matthew revealed that work at the facility could resume in June when the country’s borders reopen.
In March, work at the facility came to a halt as technicians attached to the Mondo company were returning home as countries closed their borders in the fight against the virus. At that point, there was no indication when work at the venue would restart.
Rehabilitation work started at the YASCO Sports Complex in 2018 and faced several delays over the past two years.