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Off track

Ronald Thompson (right) senior technical officer at the National Sports Council, pointing out features of the work being done at the National Stadium to Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley (second right) and other officials yesterday. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe)

By Randy Bennett | Sat, January 26, 2013 - 12:05 AM

Sportsmax, the Caribbean’s only 24-hour television sports channel, has come under fire from Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley.

Speaking to the media yesterday after a brief tour of the National Stadium to view the progress being made on the athletics track, Lashley expressed his disappointment at the treatment he had received at the hands of channel.

The minister revealed that Sportsmax had reported that both the Barbados Secondary Schools Athletic Championships (BSSAC) and the National Primary Schools Athletic Championships (NAPSAC) had been evicted from Kensington Oval.

They further reported that this meant that because of the work being carried out at the National Stadium, there was no current home for the championships.

Lashley said that having been invited to be a guest on the show to give an update on when the Stadium would become available he sought to clarify the inaccurate reports which Sportsmax had televised.

However, the interview was discontinued before he got a chance to clear the air.

“I, as Minister of Sports, challenged that misinformation because it is totally untrue,” he proclaimed. Neither championship was evicted from Kensington Oval, and therefore I challenged Sportsmax to get their facts right.

“I don’t believe that the person who was conducting the interview wanted to learn the facts and therefore once I challenged it, I was abruptly cut off from the interview.”

Lashley maintained that companies such as Sportsmax had an obligation and responsibility to get the facts correct. He also pointed out that the way in which he was treated by Sportsmax as a guest of the show was totally unacceptable.

“If you invite a minister to give you an update, I thought it was totally disingenuous and certainly not in keeping with the high standards of journalism which  I am accustomed to for Sportsmax to cut me off.

“We take sports in Barbados very seriously and as minister responsible for sports, I take sports very seriously.

“I also take attempts to create what I consider to be mischief, or to put out information that is totally incorrect seriously as well.

“I would like to say this morning to Sportsmax and to the Caribbean that we are well on track in terms of the progress which has been made,” Lashley said.

The minister also reiterated the fact that the track was due to be completed by early March, meaning that it would be available for both the BSSAC and the NAPSAC events.

In addition he outlined that plans were being made for the hosting of a Ryan Brathwaite athletics meet when the track was completed, although he stated that those plans were at a preliminary stage.

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