Mon | Oct 21, 2019

‘DEAD PLACE’ - Trelawny residents disappointed with lack of activity at multipurpose stadium

Published:Sunday | September 22, 2019 | 12:35 AMRobert Bailey - Gleaner Writer
The Trelawny Stadium in Florence Hall.
Derrick Carr, a disc jockey
Vendor Sylvester Walcott
The under-utilised Trelawny Stadium.
The under-utilised Trelawny Stadium.
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Trelawny residents have expressed their disappointment at the slowly deteriorating and underused multipurpose stadium at Florence Hall in the parish.

The facility was constructed with a loan of US$30 million from China for the hosting of the 2007 International Cricket Conference (ICC) World Cup warm-up matches and the opening ceremony. However, since then, only a handful of competitive cricket matches and a few Trelawny Major League football championship games have been played there.

Among those expressing their disgust are vendor Sylvester Walcott and disco operator Derrick Carr.

“That stadium is like a joke thing because a stadium like that should have seen a lot more activities taking place down there for the community people so we can get more enjoyment from it,” said Walcott, a resident of Daniel Town. “That stadium come in like a one dead place. Nothing not going on ... it’s just there,” he said.

“They (Government) need to step it up so that more events can be held there because that is what they build it for, to lively up the parish and to attract more tourists down here,” he said. “It is just running down. It is costing the Government to maintain it, and it is not making any money, and so they need to do something with it.

Carr, who is also a resident of Daniel Town, said that the Government should consider handing over the facility to the residents of the surrounding communities so that they could use it to stage their sporting activities.

“I think they should give it to the community to keep our sporting events down there, like our football competitions, our cricket competitions,” said Carr. “Let us utilise it, and, at the same time, we could always charge a fee to enter and contribute to the stadium’s maintenance,” said Carr.

“This stadium is not doing anything for the parish, and it is a real shame to see what is happening with this stadium,” he added.

Carr outlined a number of initiatives that he feels the Government could put in place to make the facility attractive to locals and visitors.

“Usain Bolt is one of the greatest athletes in the world and he comes from Trelawny. Former Prime Minister Hugh Shearer is also from the parish (born in Martha Brae), and so they need to put up their pictures along the roadway leading into stadium to make it attractive to tourists,” Carr said.

“It is right next to the cruise ship dock, and so they could invite some American MLS (Major League Soccer) teams down there when they are in their off-season to come here and play some practice matches against some of the Premier League teams in Jamaica. That should bring across a lot of tourists,” he said.

VERY DISAPPOINTED

Meanwhile, Tamara McNuff, a resident of Duncans, said she is also very disappointed with the lack of activity at the facility.

“I would love to see a lot more events taking place here so that the community can benefit from it because this is really a very safe area to be,” said McNuff.

“I think that having events at this stadium will provide jobs for the youths in and around the surrounding communities where the stadium is located, and this will also help to attract a lot more tourists to Trelawny,” she said.

In May, Sports Minister Olivia Grange announced that the Government had signed a contract with APEC Consultants in relation to the redevelopment of the National Stadium and the Trelawny Stadium.

“The contract, which is valued at $30 million, is for the development of financing proposals for the redevelopment, expansion, and upgrading of these two national facilities,” the sports minister said while speaking at the launch of the 2019 Racers Grand Prix.

She added: “The contract was signed under a programme facilitated by the Public Sector Investment Management Secretariat (PIMSEC), which falls under the Ministry of Finance and aims to streamline the preparation and appraisal of all government projects to ensure that the Government receives value for money. At the end of the four months for which the contract is signed, we will have a business plan and architectural design for both facilities.

“There will be a state-of-the-art anti-doping facility at the National Stadium and at least 10,000 more seats. The bleachers section will also be partly covered. At the Trelawny Stadium, a cricket academy will be established along with a running track, a basketball arena, a baseball diamond, and that facility, too, will have a state-of-the-art gym.”