Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, and Chinese Ambassador to Barbados, Wei Qiang, exchanging documents during??the hand-over of the Gymnasium Project today at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium. (A.Miller/BGIS)


The Gymnasium Limited now has four new state-of-the art scoreboards at a price tag of BDS $3.38 million.

During a brief hand-over ceremony today for the Gymnasium Project, Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, lauded the Chinese team for the hard work and he told the gathering, which included the Chinese Ambassador, Wei Qiang, that great enthusiasm had been shown when the project was launched.

??"The swiftness with which you have carried out your work and the determination to make sure you could bring this project to a completion within good time augurs well for the level of confidence that certainly the Ministry and the Government have in relation to the collaboration which we continue to enjoy between our two states," Mr. Lashley stated.

He noted that the challenges with the scoreboard had impacted a number of sports, including basketball and volleyball. "Our volleyball and basketball players will feel a bit better when they play here at the Gymnasium. The scoreboards will enhance the Gymnasium product from many perspectives because of the new features which are inherent in the four state-of-the-art scoreboards…The [Gymnasium] Board has a more enhanced product to market to various teams both in Barbados and outside," he suggested.

Enhanced scoreboards revealed today at the??hand-over ceremony at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium. (A.Miller/BGIS)??

Mr. Lashley pointed out that a maintenance programme had been put in place for the scoreboards and disclosed that two technicians from the Gymnasium had been trained in the area. He, however, urged those using the facilities to protect them.

He further revealed that Barbados would be seeking assistance from the Chinese Government in the areas of culture and sports. "The National Road Tennis Competition was launched last year and we want to take it to a higher level where we can actually have state-of-the-art scoreboards well placed at the various road tennis locations. We are hoping we will have the cooperation of the Government of China in relation to that," he said.

Minister Lashley noted that the People’s Republic of China had offered to construct a Cultural Centre for Barbados. "We are visiting a number of locations and finalising the actual venue so we can signal our readiness for help," he added.

Underscoring that the Gymnasium "is a milestone in the annals of the strong China-Barbados friendship and cooperation ties", Ambassador Wei said it had been used for a wide range of cultural activities.

Stating that the project had been "well done", he continued: "The joint inspection duly conducted by engineers from China and Barbados has shown satisfactory results … so that we do have a quality work to be handed over to the Barbados Government and people…"

Ambassador Wei said he hoped the project would prove to be yet another demonstration of the "Chinese Government’s strong and unswerving commitment to the South-South cooperation among fellow developing nations".

During a working visit to China in June this year, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart signed a Letter of Exchanges with the Government of the People’s Republic of China in connection with the maintenance and repair work for the scoreboard. China State Construction Engineering Corporation started the project in August and completed the work one month later. The cost of the project was covered under the grant aid of the Government of China to the Government of Barbados.


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