Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley (centre), discussing the removal of the CBC antennas with CBC’s Chairman, Leroy Parris (left) and UWI’s Principal, Sir Hilary Beckles (right). The touring party included Permanent Secretary in the Division of Culture and Sports Shirley Farnum??and CBC’s General Manager Lars Soderstron (second row).??
If everything goes according to plan, local athletes should be able to use the Ryan Brathwaite track at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus in another six months.
Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley gave this assurance Friday after touring the sporting complex at the UWI with Principal of Cave Hill, Sir Hilary Beckles, and Chairman of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Leroy Parris, among others. He explained: "We have had some challenges with some CBC antennas being in the path where the Ryan Brathwaite track will be laid … We have agreed on some timelines for the removal of the antennas, and I am fairly optimistic that come Monday [today] the project leading up to their removal will begin…
"Once we have done that, it means we are not as restricted in terms of our athletic programme, given the constraints at the National Stadium… The University is at the stage that all it needs is the relocation of the antennas, and once we can get this facility going, it means we have another option…"????
The Sports Minister expressed optimism that the facility would be completed within a shorter time period than six months, so athletes could continue their preparations for the upcoming championships, including the Pan American Games and the Olympic Games, at a "world class" facility.
However, he reiterated that Government was still committed to replacing the track at the National Stadium, and it was trying to source the necessary funding. "Government has been talking to a major donor in relation to the track. Those discussions are at a fairly advanced stage, and as soon as an agreement is finalised, I will make an announcement," he disclosed.
Reiterating that the athletic track needed to be replaced, Mr. Lashley, nevertheless stressed that "I have been assured that it is not posing a danger to users. The National Sports Council obviously will continue its maintenance programme on the track, to ensure that it continues to be in a state that it can still be used, even though we know we have to change it because of its age and condition."
He underscored that the University and Government shared a similar vision of propelling sports in Barbados, and the investment in the sporting complex at Cave Hill was proof of the UWI’s commitment.