Updated: May 11, 2021
The national stadium, which has experienced a steady decline since it was constructed in 2007, is among some facilities on Providenciales targeted for brand new makeovers, while Grand Turk is to get a spanking new basketball facility, thanks to a $1million injection announced by government.
Hon. Rachel Taylor Jarrett Forbes, Director of Sports Commission
Jarrett Forbes, Director of Sports explained that majority of the funds will be used to resurface the National Stadium track and to construct a brand new basketball facility in Grand Turk akin to the Gustarvus Lightbourne Sports Complex on Providenciales.
He pointed out also that the money will also improve other existing facilities on Grand Turk and Providenciales.
For her part, Minister of Education, Labour and Employment Services, Hon. Rachel Taylor, under whom the Sports Ministry also falls, said the funds to bankroll the facilities is part of the recently secured supplementary budget.
“The $1million is allocated for the upkeep of the sporting facilities at the national stadium, as well as the facility in Grand Turk,” Taylor told NewslineTCI.
“The key thing is that, we want to ensure that if our athletes are podium-ready, we have to ensure that the facilities are up to standard…so this is the reason being for (allocating) the $1million.
The minister was quick to point out that additional funding will be sought for upkeep or construction of facilities on the family islands across the country.
“I also want to make noted that sporting facilities on the other islands will be maintained by the Sports Department, and the reason for that is that students who cannot train at the stadium, will have the opportunity to participate or engage in sports within their communities…and that is not just Providenciales, we will ensure that there is upkeep of sporting facilities in all the other islands,” the minister reiterated.
She said the upkeep for the other facilities will be included in the new budget.
In the meantime, the minister pointed out that some work has already been done at the stadium, such as repairing of sections of the perimeter, as well as the inner fencing.
She also revealed that government was in negotiations for the adjacent vacant land for development.
“There is also proposal by this government to purchase the piece of land adjacent, so in the event we host CARIFTA one day, it could serve as a warm-up field. The discussion around that is to give our students the opportunity, even when this (stadium) track is closed, they would have access to an additional track. That’s the decision that the Sports Commission has communicated to us, and we are definitely working on as well,” Taylor pointed out.
In the meantime, Forbes pointed out that if all goes well, the ground-breaking exercise for both major projects would take place in a matter of months.
“We are going to be resurfacing the track very soon. The tender has already been evaluated, and we need some additional funds to secure the contract. And so, this track will be fully resurfaced,” he pointed out.
He explained that once ground is broken, it would take approximately 90 days for the National Stadium project to complete, while the basketball gymnasium in Grand Turk should take about a year.