Sports Secretary Jomo Pitt says his response to a question posed by Minority Leader Watson Duke at last Thursday’s Tobago House of Assembly’s plenary was “misconstrued,” and that he was surprised at the ensuing “firestorm.”
During the questions for oral answer session at the sitting at the Chamber in Scarborough, Duke posed a question to Pitt on repairs at the Dwight Yorke Stadium, given infrastructural problems, no access to the gym for athletes and no sporting activities happening after sunset because of the unavailability of lights on the field.
Said Pitt: “My response to the question posed; none.” He said nothing further.
However, in a telephone interview with Newsday on Wednesday, Pitt was more voluble about his almost non-
response in the House, saying that he “didn’t anticipate my response would have invoked such a firestorm.”
“Based on the question posed to me, it was formed in a yes/ no format, so rather than take the Minority Leader down a yellow brick road all the way to Charlotteville and back. It was also my intent in the event that he (the Minority Leader) asked follow up questions, based on the response, I would have responded accordingly,” he said.
He said that in any event, questions regarding the Stadium should be posed directly to the Minister of Sport, reminding that the facility falls directly under the jurisdiction of that Ministry.
He said, though, he had no short-term goals, but rather a long-term goal for the Stadium.
“It is very hard to make plans when you do not have control over an entity, regrettably it hasn’t been a priority.
“My long-term plan is to say to the Ministry of Sport, just give us the stadium, give us as it is. The cost to repair the stadium is quite hefty but just give it to us. We have extended our hands in
doing what could have been done for the stadium, for whatever reason, either they cannot or will not, central government and the Ministry of Sport, has not treated Dwight Yorke Stadium as a priority,” he said.
“Me en begging nobody to do nothing, you have a responsibility to do it; I ask you once, I ask you twice, I am not going to ask a third time. We now have to make some decisions here on this island…
“Earlier this year, I made a concerted effort to see if we could have those lights repaired. After consultations with my Accounting Executive officer, I called a contractor from Trinidad and asked him to do an assessment. It was valued at $1.5 million and the funds were identified.
“I approached the Minister, told him we had found a contractor and we would assume responsibility for the payments. That was in March, as of now the lights are still not working,” he said.