• Today
    May 26

  • 04:46 PM

ON THE BALL: Tell it like it is

JUSTIN MARVILLE, justinmarville@nationnews.com

Added 01 March 2017


I’VE FOUND it’s best just to say exactly what you mean.

That way you avoid having to explain something that you didn’t mean.

Yet often we feel the need to protect people’s feelings by giving “politically correct” answers or issuing the Press release-type statements when the simple truth would do.

So companies “restructure” instead of firing a CEO for stealing.

Selectors say they’re rebuilding rather than dropping failing veterans.

And now Government is acquiring Kensington Oval as a “money-spinning facility” instead of getting out of a lease.

I’m not really sure what’s so hard about saying the current lease arrangement with the Barbados Cricket Association is unsustainable; but it must be a lot easier than trying to convince taxpayers that the Oval is actually a gold mine.

After all, someone will eventually have to explain why Kensington isn’t one when the dollars inevitably don’t come.

Need to get out of lease

Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand the need to get out of that lease because I can’t see how Government can continue to fork over $1.6 million to the BCA for the next 90 years.

And it’s more than that now because the original agreement states that base rental will increase annually by 2.5 per cent from January 1, 2009.

Hence why Government currently owes the BCA $14 million.

So it’s probably best to figure out what the place is worth and agree to pay a negotiated settlement that includes the debt instead of eventually shelling out way more over 99 years via the lease.

Anyone could understand that.

But what they won’t comprehend is how buying out the BCA’s interest in Kensington suddenly makes the Oval financially profitable.

As it stands Government already manages the Oval via Kensington Oval Management Inc. (KOMI) – a subsidiary of Kensington Development Corporation – and the place can’t even sustain itself now.

The monthly utility cost is a headache by itself and I think we’ve long figured out that cricket alone won’t pay the bills.

Even the extracurricular stuff doesn’t turn a profit.

Kensington has staged Rihanna’s Loud Tour.

It held the Golden Anniversary Spectacular Mega Concert. There was Hennessy Artistry.

Numerous Crop Over fetes and events take place at the Oval.

Track and field, football, hockey and rugby have all held tournaments there.

The bonded warehouse is now used to field various sporting events.

Heck, Kensington even hosts daily business conferences and meetings!

Yet none of these help the supposed multipurpose facility to break even.

So that magically changes overnight when Government takes complete ownership?

Of course they’re means to reduce the utility bill like switching to alternative sources of energy.

And Government could let go of its archaic way of thinking and finally get another source of income by means of selling the Oval’s naming rights.

Just look at how the Los Angeles Lakers play their games at the Staples Center, or how MetLife Stadium hosts both the New York Giants and Jets.

But the reality is that Kensington is a cost centre and not a revenue earner.

Then there’s that whole issue of maintenance.

Government simply doesn’t invest money in the upkeep of their facilities, having watched the stands fall to complete ruin at the National Stadium before the entire Wildey Gymnasium followed suit.

Falling into disrepair

They can’t even look after outdoor pavilions, cut the grass at playing fields, fix broken backboards and lock light boxes.

As we speak Kensington is already falling into disrepair, as several lights in the towers no longer work, while many ceilings are crumbling.

They’re big cracks in the foundations everywhere, doorknobs dropping off and grass growing out of the cracks.

Yet this potential “money spinner” that Government already runs is going to transform into a gold mine when they own it?

Uh huh.

Come on, man, Kensington is what it is and I think we’ve all accepted that long ago.

Unless Government is looking at buying the place to sell it to an outside source for even more money then, I don’t believe anyone expects the Oval to be a major revenue earner.

We already know the truth, so there’s no need trying to explain something else.



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