By Neto Baptiste
The government would be willing to consider issuing agreements to those sporting clubs and or community groups that have demonstrated the the capacity to manage and or upkeep sporting facilities within their respective municipals.
This was revealed by Minister of Sports Daryll Matthew who, while speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, said he would be willing to take any serious requests from responsible clubs and or groups to Cabinet.
“If a request is made by an established community group who have shown capacity or who have indicated that they would put the capacity in place to manage the facility, then it is definitely a conversation that can be had,” he said
“As it is now, there are none of these MOUs that remain intact because the expiry period of those documents was after two years from the initial signing. So, to answer your question, if there are well established groups that can show the capacity to manage and they have an interest, then they make such intent know to the ministry [of sports], we will have some discussions at the Cabinet level to see what the appetite is of the rest of the Cabinet for government to take on this as a policy decision, and we will make a decision,” the minister added.
The former UPP government, in 2009, issued memorandums of understanding to a number of sporting clubs and groups, allowing them to manage and or operate sporting venues across the island.
The agreements were, however, not renewed after the two-year agreements elapsed.
Meanwhile, Matthew revealed that the planned refurbishing of the West Indies Oil Company (WIOC) or double-decker stand at the Antigua Recreation Grounds (ARG) have been placed on what he calls a “deep freeze hold”.
“In as much as a contract was awarded for the demolition of the double decker stand or the West Indies Oil Company stand and that wasn’t awarded by government because that part of the process was being managed by West Indies Oil, given their legacy involvement with the stand, but the conditions have certainly changed. There is a commitment from them to do it but at this point in time companies and even governments have to prioritise their cash flow and so that has been delayed because of that,” he said.
The famed WIOC Stand had been condemned over a year ago and had since been inaccessible to patrons during Premier Division football hosted by the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association.