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The initiative by the Social Investment Fund (SIF), to establish or embellish existing playing facilities in the state, is welcomed by Chairman of the National Lotteries Authority(NLA) Murray Bullock, however he has made the observation that the burden of upkeep will be on the financial shoulders of the National Sports Council (NSC).{{more}}

Bullock made this point to SEARCHLIGHT recently and said: “Unless there is an infusion of funds to the National Sports Council, it will be difficult for them to adequately maintain the facilities”.

SIF was set up to make investments in communities, which were affected by the fall out in bananas.

Among the sporting projects which have been funded by SIF are, the playing fields at Colonarie, Park Hill, Peniston, and Ottley Hall; hard court facilities at Richland Park, Mayreau, Rose Bank, and pavilions at Petit Bordel and Colonarie.

When completed, they will be added to the list of responsibilities of the NSC.

At present there are 66 playing fields and 62 hard courts under the aegis of the National Sports Council.

But with the NLA being the umbilical chord of the NSC, pumping approximately half a million dollars per year into that organization, Bullock revealed that currently, the NSC cannot expand its operations.

Under the terms of the agreement with SIF, SIF provides the community organizations with part of the finances. The beneficiary organisations in turn provide labour or other funding, which is usually about ten percent of the overall cost.

But Bullock has also observed, that the inadequacy of the funding often leaves the facilities unfinished, hence it will be the task of the NSC to complete them.

He is therefore advising SIF to either up its ceiling of $250,000 or work closer with the personnel of the NSC to get technical assistance, when setting up and executing the projects.

Bullock’s observations are shared by Manager of the National Sports Council, Osbourne Browne.

The NSC Manger concurred with Bullock that they will be hard pressed financially to take on the additional facilities.

He said that this was against a backdrop that requisitions for funding from central government for the sporting facilities have to be done a year in advance.

According to Browne, “We cannot be flogging the Lottery for everything. In addition, we do not have a reserve fund”.

“We need to have an involvement at the contract stage, as the projects come back to us and we are the ones now, who have to do what we have to do to keep them up to scratch,” Browne said.

Browne made a reference to a recent occurrence at the Park Hill facility.

He revealed that with an understating with SIF, “the council had to go and finish the re-grassing of the Park Hill Playing Field, which in our estimation was unsatisfactorily done”.

Browne said that it required an additional $29 000, which, through an agreement with SIF, they were able to make the extra funds available.

“We do not want a repetition of such a thing in the future”, Browne stated.

Apart from its involvement in the refurbishing and construction of playing facilities, SIF offers funding for community based projects and has sponsored the Sharpes Inter Village Football Competition, which concluded last Sunday.