PM opens $131m new Skinner Park

The newly refurbished Skinner Park. Photo by Marvin Hamilton
The newly refurbished Skinner Park. Photo by Marvin Hamilton

MERE days before Calypso Fiesta is to be staged, the Prime Minister handed over the show's venue – the $131m refurbished Skinner Park in San Fernando – on Monday.

The facility was handed over to the Ministry of Sport and Community Development.

Udecott chairman Noel Garcia said   some damage to the new grassy areas of the park was anticipated after Calypso Fiesta is staged on February 11, and the Chutney Soca finals on February 17.

However, he said Udecott will do any repairs in the quickest possible time to restore the pristine condition of the park.

MY POINT IS: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley makes a point during the formal opening of the refurbished Skinner Park on Monday in San Fernando. Photo by Marvin Hamilton

Garcia said the park was completed over a two-and-a-half year-period and within budget, but not on time, owing to the pandemic.

Dr Rowley, who cut the ribbon and unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion, said this was a priority project.

With less money to run the country, he said, this was an exercise in prioritising as his government continues to do more with less.

Despite difficult economic times, he said, money was set aside for this project because sports and culture, which equally share the space, are critical aspects of TT life.

“Without sports, the people of TT would not be able to identify ourselves.”

Similarly, he said, the role culture plays in this diverse place must be acknowledged.

Rowley said Government is not swimming in money to do all the things it would like to at the same time, but it is staying the course, and step by step, is getting things done.

He referred to Mahaica Oval in Point Fortin, which has produced world-class athletes, but had fallen into disrepair. He said his government has rebuilt the Oval.

The next project, he said, is in Sangre Grande, which has a beautiful facility but is overrun with tall grass. which makes it unavailable for use.

PLENTY TEMPO: Soca artiste Shivonne "Lil Bitts" Churche performs at the opening of the refurbished Skinner Park in San Fernando on Monday. Seated from left, enjoying the music are, MPs Randall Mitchell, Faris Al-Rawi, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, Brian Manning and San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello. Photo by Marvin Hamilton

He explained the reason is that the Sangre Grande Corporation says it does not have money to buy gas to put in equipment to cut the grass.

Saying this is ridiculous, Rowley said local government reform, which government is embarking on, will put an end to that and other, similar situations in other corporations.

He spoke of a situation where lack of resources in the Diego Martin Corporation, almost caused his home to be destroyed some months ago because of a drain issue.

Once local government is reformed, he said there would be two streams of income –  taxes it would collect, plus an allocation from central government.

“If a corporation has a revenue stream, it can always do more rather than waiting for a cash payment. Local government reform is about putting serious responsibility in the hands of local bodies," he said. He then asked why some people, year in, year out, have a problem with local government reform.


"PM opens $131m new Skinner Park"

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