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Vindicated

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The chickens are slowly but surely coming home to roost as it relates to the misgivings, concerns, and the hues and cries over the construction of the stadiums built or refurbished for the 2007 Cricket World Cup here in the Caribbean.{{more}}

Some of the mourners were loud, while others sobbed quietly. The latest to be vindicated were the opposers to the site of construction of the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua and Barbuda.

This venue hosted the second test of the current series between the West Indies and Australia last weekend. Descending on the venue last Sunday was blazing sunshine, yet play was delayed for over five hours because of a wet outfield, occasioned by improper drainage.

The same occurred last year during the World Cup. The outfield was subsequently dug up, and the drainage mechanism replaced. However, seemingly, to no avail.

Whilst the stadium was a gift from a friendly government, it is the Antigua and Barbuda government and its people who have to maintain it and suffer the embarrassment of a substandard outfield.

But the Antigua experience is not too different to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines situation.

This country, like others in the region, upgraded our main Arnos Vale venue, along with two others.

Our high point, though, is that we have very good drainage at the three venues. However, the flaws have been debilitating to say the least. I need not review and rewrite the debacle caused by the sand based fields but to say that efforts are being made to plant a different type of grass at the Stubbs Playing Field.

What a waste of scarce financial resources! But it does not stop there. The show piece ground the Arnos Vale Playing Field has become a burden and an agent for migraine.

Concerns were raised over the choice of the sand based fields, yet no one listened or ever bothered to hear.

The double decker which was a concern to the International Cricket Council, a year and a half ago, is still a headache to the local authorities.

It will be interesting if it gets a passing grade from the FIFA Commissioner for the World Cup football qualifier here, June 15.

The list continues as in modern times seats are still being placed directly behind columns. Check the newly renovated P.H. Veira and you will see what I am referring to.

It is my understanding that these seats will not be sold at the upcoming One Day International Cricket match June 24.

Hindsight or downright poor planning? Call it what you may, we have scored very low on our thought processes in many regards as we embarked in refurbishing these facilities.

Then there are the issues of the nonfunctioning of some basic amenities, especially at Arnos Vale Playing Field.

Joining in the series was the malfunctioning of the clock at the players pavilion which at one point had to be covered with a piece of cloth during a regional cricket match, in January, to save face, but it was equally a sore eye.

Now rectified, the clock is behind time, but keeping in time with the general happenings.

But what is sad about the whole affair was that members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) were forewarned of these shortcomings. But they brushed aside local knowledge on preference of the “experts”.

At a press conference held February 11, 2006, the issue of the river defence was brought to the fore, but I was told the designed was approved.

My fears were realised a few months after when most of the barricade gave way, due to heavy rains.

Similarly, the positioning in relation to the sunset was raised. A member of the LOC stopped short of calling the journalist out of place, to question the experts. Today, players have to be caged, rather than enjoy the comfort of the balcony, as the rays of the setting sun are unbearable at that time of the day. Again, another instance of vindication.

What transpired was the facilities were designed and constructed with little input from residents of the communities in which they were placed.

It is for this reason that this column continues to harp on the erection of the “mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

No consultation was sought from the administrators of Sports in the community. I am certain, the criticisms leveled at this addendum, will be vindicated when the field is finally handed back to the National Sports Council.

The “experts” have duped the decision makers who have accepted their shoddy and substandard output.

One sometimes has to question the acumen of these “experts” in putting down facilities of these nature, vis a vis cricket/football/athletics facility.

But we are saddled with the debts of these facilities, which are yet to be fully used. The task is ours to correct the wrongs and salvage some or most of our investments and maximize.

We have put the cart before the horse, so the once rejected local expertise has to be saviours as we knock heads together to get things right.

What has to be right is the Executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF) prolonged silence on the salary paid to Technical Director Stewart John Hall.

kingroache@yahoo.com

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