Leacock: Tobago Commonwealth facilities ready

Beach volleyball teams practise on Thursday at the new Courland Beach Sport Arena, Black Rock, Tobago. - David Reid
Beach volleyball teams practise on Thursday at the new Courland Beach Sport Arena, Black Rock, Tobago. - David Reid

ALL facilities earmarked in Tobago for the Commonwealth Youth Games are ready.

So says head of the THA-appointed local organising committee George Leacock as he addressed members of the media during a tour of all the facilities, which culminated with the commissioning of the Courland Beach Sport Arena in Black Rock.

Tobago will host four sporting disciplines. Beach volleyball was initially set to be held at Pigeon Point Beach, but in April the assembly opted for a facility in Courland. The Courland Beach Sports Arena includes two championship beach volleyball courts, a beach volleyball warm-up court, bleachers for fans, and a pavilion.

Speaking during the official handover of the arena to the THA, Leacock said he is indeed proud as the feedback has already started to come in.

“The returns are already in – we are getting good reviews from the persons who have arrived on the island. They are prepared, they are impressed by the facilities, they are ready to go."

He said there are some things still to fix, but that was par for the course.

More specifically about the arena, he said: “We are here. We are ready and I suspect that everyone of us who has been involved in having this facility in particular come to where it is now and to see the vision of where it will be in the near future, are more than happy.”

He added: “This is an opportunity that I’ll never forget.”

Previously, Sport Minister Shamfa Cudjoe said she was worried that the Courland facility would not be ready in time. In the first instance, sand for the facility only arrived from Guyana on Sunday. She said the THA told her it would be shipped from Guyana around 1 am on Saturday and arrive on Sunday by 2 am. In a Facebook post on Sunday, she said the sand finally arrived, adding: “Better late than...”

THA Chief Administrator Denese Toby-Quashie said the excitement is at an all-time high for the event as you can feel the joy and anticipation in the atmosphere as the country creates history hosting an international event of this magnitude. Toby-Quashie said she is beyond delighted as the arena has been handed over.

“This handing over is indeed a proud moment for the Tobago House of Assembly and by extension, the island of Tobago. It is a reminder of what Tobago can execute in a prompt fashion whilst keeping quality at the forefront.”

Assistant Secretary in the Division of Community Development, Youth Development and Sport Wane Clarke said he feels like Tobago has given birth.

“This facility is being delivered just after Emancipation, just after the Heritage (Festival). You know what – that pregnant woman in the Heritage, she can smile now because trust me, she just gave birth to a major facility here and trust me – she would have a whole bunch of children behind her because this executive would be constantly working to constantly deliver to the people of Tobago.”

Clarke said there were times he wanted to give up on the project.

“This is a very, very proud moment – when everybody thinks this wasn’t possible, the chief secretary, the secretary, the chief administrator and E-IDCOT said no, it’s not impossible, it’s very possible and we are going to show you that it’s possible and they really came through.”

Secretary of the division Terrance Baynes said the facility is a product of good leadership.

“I feel almost peacock proud to stand here and to see where we have come within the timelines that we were working. What we are seeing here is a representation of the power of the human spirit. It seems to me that those of us in this executive, the mistake you’ll make is to tell us we can’t get something done. I feel that if you leave us to ourselves, we may sink into apathy but if you only try to tell us and to challenge us about what we cannot do we would prove that we can do what we set out to do.”


"Leacock: Tobago Commonwealth facilities ready"

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