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Marriaqua Sports Association says thanks, but no thanks

Marriaqua Sports Association says thanks, but no thanks


Users of the Cane End Playing Field, especially footballers, no longer have to compete with the dust, as the field has been grassed.

This is a pleasing development. However, the quality of the work has not met the satisfaction of the Marriaqua Sports Association (MSA) and the National Sports Council (NSC).{{more}}

A joint venture between the Social Investment Fund (SIF) and the Marriaqua Sports Association, officials of the MSA and the NSC are in agreement that more work is needed on the facility and the surface is uneven.

Acting Vice President of the MSA, Carlos James, told SEARCHLIGHT that his organisation welcomes the grassing of the field, but thinks some corrective measures must take place before it can be deemed acceptable.

The Cane End Playing Field, the venue of several cultural events and athletics meets for schools in the area, is also the home of the Marriaqua Football League.

In assessing the current condition of the newly re-grassed field, James said: “Looking at it from afar, indeed it looks good”.

“But if you walk on it, you will see the unevenness, much more running on it or trying to pass a ball.” It will be very difficult especially for the footballers,” James continued.

Still with some gratitude for the efforts of SIF, James expressed that the field is “better than what we had before”.

Sharing James’ concerns over the quality of work done on regrassing the field was Manager of the NSC, Osbourne Browne.

The NSC Manager admitted to SEARCHLIGHT: “We at the Council must say there are issues with the quality of grass used, the drainage and the undulating surface.”

Browne said that the NSC has since presented SIF with a list of recommendations, among them the type of soil that should be used on the field.

Browne stated that, with the NSC being the custodian of most of the playing fields and hard courts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, at the end of the day, the burden falls in the hands of the NSC, which has to maintain the facilities, hence their insistence that the facility be properly done.

At the 2008 National Sports Awards staged in April last year, Chairman of the National Lotteries Authority, Murray Bullock, while welcoming the contribution made by SIF, queried that no further financial provisions were made for the maintenance of these facilities.

Much of the funds for the day to day running of the NSC facilities comes from subventions from the National Lotteries Authority.

The Cane End Playing Field has been bare of grass for many years, so much so that it acquired the name “The Sahara”, as well as the “Dust Bowl”.

At the opening of the Marriaqua Football League in August 2008, Chairman of the National Sports Council, Carlton “Teddy” James, in his address, complained of the conditions of the field and its danger to users’ health.

When the Memorandum of Understanding was signed last year paving the way for the re- grassing of field, it was revealed that SIF would provide EC $130,000 towards the project.

The work on the field also meant that there was no MSA Football competition in 2009.

This latest move to have the field re-grassed comes after other attempts in the past have failed, including the use of imported grass seeds.

Apart from the Cane End Playing Field, SIF has also funded the refurbishment of the Oval Playing Field in Richland Park, as well as the establishment of a hard court, also in Richard Park.

Like the Cane Playing Field, the other two facilities have been earmarked for corrective work.