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At last, but problems…!

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News broke last week that the Local Organising Committee (LOC), or better still the Longest Organising Committee, has been officially dissolved.

It is almost laughable that an Organizing Committee would have still been in place almost two years after the event had taken place.{{more}}

This dissolution means that the four facilities, the Arnos Vale One and Two, Sion Hill and the Stubbs Playing Fields, have been handed back to the National Sports Council (NSC).

But the goodly men and women of the LOC have left behind a legacy that is second to none. A legacy that no one wants to be a part of; a legacy that is TOTALLY at odds with the promises made during the “upgrading” of the venues, ahead of the staging of the official warm up matches for World Cup 2007. The LOC has rewritten the dictionary, giving their twist to the word, “upgrade” in some respects.

Yes, there were some true upgrades, in that there were some improvements in the amenities at the four facilities.

However, to them the terminology “upgrade” of the four outfields was to have made them worse than they were prior.

Many, including this columnist, have been vindicated, with regard to criticism about the use of sand as the fields’ base. Today, the chickens have come home to roost, as the problems are being magnified with each passing day.

But what is sad about the whole affair was that members of the LOC were forewarned of these shortcomings. But they brushed aside local knowledge in preference to the “experts”.

We in the Caribbean very often suffer from this disease that things foreign and ideas which are imported have greater value than ours.

It is either that the members of the LOC were too hard headed or they were duped by the experts.

So we are paying a high price for our folly and stubbornness.

A close look at parts of the outfields, especially at Stubbs and Sion Hill, more resembles beaches instead of areas worthy for the playing of Sports. As opined by one sports administrator, the fields should be used for Beach Football and Beach Volleyball. Superficial and funny, it may sound, but that suggestion exemplifies the state of the two outfields.

Added to that are the side effects of the heavily sanded fields. The prevalence of pests, foreign weeds and insects, which are feasting on the electrical fixtures, are just a few verses in a chapter of the epistle of the issues confronting the NSC.

The personnel at the National Sports Council surely must be searching the pharmacies to find the correct pain killers to soothe the migraine brought on by trying to find quick remedial action to salvage some of government’s investments.

Instead of finding ways to start recouping some of the expenditure, already scare financial resources have to be found to upkeep the fields.

Accountability

Unfortunately, now that the facilities are supposed to be in use, and that the inefficiencies continue to mount, no one seems answerable to the tax payers of this country for the LOC’s shortcomings.

At least an explanation or an admission that they erred may just do. Or have the past members washed their hands from the faults and will gladly want to shift it on to the NSC, which now holds custody?

It may be that this revelation is just the starter to future major investments, that things be put in place to prevent similar occurrences of unaccountability of regressive decisions taken.

There is an absence of clearly marked areas and signage, among other deficiencies, at the main Arnos Vale Playing Field, which is indeed the showpiece venue, which we were promised will be close to international standards. Far from it, in my estimation.

The Double Decker is still unfinished and riddled with problems. And, those buildings which are finished lack “finishing”, and are like eyesores. The Press Box looks like some ancient structure which is lacking in architectural attraction.

In general, with the amount of money spent on this venue, the aesthetics leave much to be desired.

Corrective Surgery

The task of the NSC is to get Arnos vale One into some good shape and make it user friendly. This process has begun, but one which should take some time.

The Stubbs and Sion Hill outfields will take more time, as they have no readily alternative source of irrigation.

Undeniable, the facilities are there and we have to make the best use of them, granted the constraints, and try to correct the colossal wrongs.

One such is the erection of that “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

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