By Neto Baptiste
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic will negatively impact the government’s planned upgrade of a number of sporting facilities to include the forecasted demolition and replacement of the famous double-decker or WIOC stand at the historic Recreation Grounds (ARG).
This is according to Minister of Sports Daryll Matthewwho said much of the funds allocated to sports could very well be diverted towards the fight against Covid-19.
“Coming out of this crisis, government revenues and government’s ability to spend is going to be severely curtailed, so even the ARG, and we had several community facilities, about 15 or 16, somewhere in that range that we had gotten an increased allocation to repair, and to retrofit, and to rebuild, in some cases, and that most likely, will not be able to happen,” he said.
“We got increased funding for ADARP [Athletes Development Assistance Review Panel] this year to support national associations to the value of about $600,000.00 which was up from what we got last year. Sporting associations aren’t traveling so that money is not going to be spent, and so the associations are going to struggle even with their own domestic programmes when they are able to start back,” he added.
The virus, which first appeared in Wuhan, China, has brought sports to a halt on a global stage while governments across the world have expended millions in the fight against the pandemic.
The lone project not financially hampered by the pandemic, the rehabilitation of the YASCO Sports Complex, was however, still impacted after technicians who were slated to lay the surface, left the island ahead of worldwide airport closures.
“The one that hurts me the most is YASCO and you guys are aware that the day they were to start putting that rubber down on the surface, the gentlemen said they needed to go home to their families because we don’t know how long these airports are going to be closed, and yet again, YASCO is delayed and that is the one that really hurts me the most,” Matthew said. Work was slated to commence at the ARG this year with the dismantling and removal of the WIOC stand.