Tobago sports enthusiasts are being challenged by Secretary of Sport Tracy Davidson-Celestine to maximise the the island's recreational grounds. Davidson-Celestine made the statement on Thursday at the commissioning of the island’s first LED mast $4.1 million lighting system at the Courland Recreation Ground.
Davidson-Celestine said: “If we make the investment, we want to reap dividends and the dividends here would be for you the people to play – that is what our dividends are. The cricket association, the football association, the village council – everybody should get together to ensure that we maximise...”
She said the division and the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) would continue to invest heavily by facilitating the development of infrastructure, recreational facilities and sporting facilities, while ensuring that the people have the requisite skills that they can become better sportsmen and sportswomen.
“That is why we consistently make these types of investments in the communities. This is a $4.1 million project for a small community in Tobago and this comes on the heels of other development projects we have been working on and churning out.”
She said many times there are complaints that the facilities become white elephants.
“Many times, we have too many fights over who owns the facility and who wants to control the keys and all sorts of nonsense. We have too many instances in Tobago where people are fighting over authority and fighting over control of the THA and even the division’s assets, and that has to stop.
"Our focus must be on coming up with a programme and coming up with a plan of action where we can see everybody who wants to utilise the facility working together in one common goal and ensuring that we can do what we have to do.”
The division’s administrator, Earland Kent, shared the secretary’s sentiments.
“The level of investments – infrastructural investments in Tobago – has been so high yet the usership is so low. I am making a call now to the associations – mainly cricket and football...I want to encourage the associations and the community to let us make use of the facility.”
He also had a challenge for the THA Department of Sport.
“Ensure that our sport development officers work with the associations and even with the community organisations that would be using this facility to ensure that we have maximum use. I prefer the association coming to the administrator to say, 'Listen, I don’t have enough time at the facility because we’re competing with cricket, football and all the others.'
"Let us work out a schedule rather than the facility is here, we paying hefty electricity bills and it is underutilised.”