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PM puts $10,000 to help refurbish playing field in Bequia

PM puts $10,000 to help refurbish playing field in Bequia


Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has made good on his offer to contribute $10,000 to refurbish the Clive Tannis playing field in Bequia, a move which has been welcomed by Parliamentary Representative Dr Godwin Lorraine Friday.{{more}}

In a letter dated April 3, and addressed to Murray Bullock, chairman of the National Lotteries Authority (NLA), Gonsalves indicated that he was leading the way with a private contribution.

“I had publicly indicated that I would lead the way with a private contribution of Ten Thousand Dollars (EC$10,000). I am sending herewith a cheque in that sum for the Fund for the Rehabilitation of the Clive Tannis Playing Field of which the NLA is the proper trustee,” the Prime Minister wrote in the letter.

He stated in the letter that he believed that a public private partnership should be put together to finance the rehabilitation of the facility, with the NLA being the executive agency.

“The public dimension of this partnership ought to include the government, the NLA and other state-owned entities or enterprises,” the letter stated.

He requested an assessment be made to determine the extent and cost of the rehabilitation and for this to be facilitated by the NLA.

“I will arrange shortly a meeting on this matter between the NLA, the Ministry of Sports and the National Sports Council,” Gonsalves stated in the letter.

The prime minister also enclosed a copy of the cheque to the NLA for EC$10,000, which was dated April 4.

During the opening of the health facility at Port Elizabeth on March 18, Gonsalves threw out a challenge to Friday, who is the Parliamentary Representative for the Northern Grenadines, which includes Bequia.

Gonsalves said then that he was going to begin a fund dedicated to the refurbishment of the playing field and that he would start off the fund by making a contribution of $10,000.

“I want Lorraine (Friday) to join me as the parliamentary representative — I will take from my own pocket $10,000 and I want him to sign a cheque too for $10,000,” the Prime Minister said.

When contacted yesterday, Friday told SEARCHLIGHT that he was not aware that the Prime Minister had stepped forward with his contribution, saying that he was pleased to hear this.

“Well I am glad to hear that he is putting money into it (playing field),” Friday said.

But he said that he thought it was best for the government to put the necessary funds into the project, rather than call for a private/public partnership.

“Because it is a big job and it is an urgent job,” the MP said.

And having a public/private partnership in his opinion would take some time.

Friday however said that he would welcome any private donations from individuals.

He further explained that the facility needed some urgent repairs to make it safe and usable.

“If individuals wished to contribute then fine, but my own role or contribution that I make is not dependent on any challenge that the Prime Minister makes — that is not how you conduct public policy; it has to be more serious than that,” Friday said.

“The NLA has as one of its mandates to deal with sporting facilities, so if they are going to contribute to the facility then that will be welcomed.”

Friday said the refurbishment of the playing field was something that they had been requesting for some time.

The parliamentary representative, however, noted that the facility is a public one, and he did not want it to come to a situation where, when there are public facilities to be fixed, that it would be the residents’ responsibility to do so. (DD)