By Carlena Knight
Courts that are inoperable will be given priority. These were words spoken by the Minister responsible for Sports in the country, Daryll Matthew.
Matthew, who was a guest on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show last Tuesday, was speaking on the matter of the continued refurbishment of courts across the island.
“We want to prioritise those communities whose courts are really inoperable. We want to try and bring everyone up to a particular standard and then we can start to make the good better,” Matthew said.
The former Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association (ABBA) President then quelled rumours that because of his background in basketball that only those courts would be upgraded.
He continued: “It’s not just basketball courts because there are some communities that have a netball culture that we are looking to put back in the netball courts.
“All Saints is one that had a strong volleyball programme at one point, so I know there are persons going back to the same suspension that because I use to be in basketball, all I’m doing is basketball courts, that’s not the case at all. We are looking to do those communities that had netball and tennis and volleyball courts as well. Those are also being prioritised to be done.”
Matthew then spoke on the issue of vandalism, which has in the past plagued a number of courts across the island to include the Mack Pond and Villa Park courts.
He, however, called on the public more so persons who are interested in using the various facilities to take responsibility in its upkeep.
“The vandalism has decreased because one of the things we have tried to do is to get communities to recognise that they need to take some ownership in it. There was an incident in All Saints, where a young man, I’m told, that lives across from the court, damaged one of the backboards and I did promise them that I would get it fixed, but I don’t want people to get the mindset that once you damage it, it gets fixed back right away. There must be some recognition that it’s an inconvenience to people and the persons who have a vested interest in that facility and feel the pain and suffering that when they can’t use it, they need to take some ownership and let the community know hey we are not going to tolerate people just damaging the facilities out here.
“I am not sure that people recognise that that just has to be the case, government cannot be the watchman for everything, the communities need to take ownership,” the Sports Minister said.