China to fund new Stadium
Christmas is still some days off, but Barbadian sportspersons and fans have been promised an ultra-modern National Stadium thanks to the help of the People’s Republic of China.
That welcome news came from the Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley as he addressed a renaming of the Mapp Hill Pavilion to the Robert Browne Pavilion on Friday at the Mapp Hill facility.
In the presence of Browne’s family and representatives from the Ministry of Sports, along with MP for the area, Santia Bradshaw, as well as former MP Hamilton Lashley, the minister declared that Government had received positive word from the People’s Republic of China to provide a grant to give Barbados a new stadium.
The National Stadium has become a spectre on the Waterford sporting landscape after the stands were deemed unsafe and closed to the public in April 2015. Since then the popular NAPSAC event has been taking place at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex while BSSAC and other national meets have been hosting the spectators under tents on the cycling track at the National Stadium.
The Republic of China had refurbished the gymnasium at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex to the tune of $19 million with the gym being closed for over 14 months.
In addition to lauding the support of Browne in selflessly giving to the Mapp Hill and surrounding communities, Lashley declared that his and other ministries had been diligently searching for funding for the redevelopment of the Stadium.
“I’m therefore pleased to say that we have received positive word from the People’s Republic of China of the provision of grant funding for the provision of a new stadium. We are expectant that with this good news, that Barbados will soon benefit from an ultra-modern National Stadium.
“. . . the facility has for an extended period been in need of modernisation and undoubtedly has reached its useful life and capacity to adequately support long range plans in keeping with its founding mandate to be a “stadium adequate for the continued development of sports in Barbados”.
“As well, due to age and natural wear and tear, the facility has been in a state of deterioration for an extended period and naturally been the subject of national concern. To this end, the Government of Barbados through the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth took the decision in April 2015 to close the grand stands following a series of condition inspections which pointed to structural concerns with the potential to compromise public safety.
“Since then, and with limited budgets, the ministry, working with Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, has been diligently in search of funding for the redevelopment of the stadium,” stated Lashley. (KB)