Work being carried out at the National Stadium. (FP)

The delay of a new track at the National Stadium should not be blamed on the National Sports Council or Government.

This strong statement was expressed today by Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, who said: "The development of which I have been briefed is one that is outside of the control of the National Sports Council (NSC) and indeed outside of the control of the Government…

"This project, designed to ensure we put in place a new track for the benefit of athletes, has to be subjected to the requirements and inspections of international interest and that process is under way. I believe the Sports Council, once it has gotten feedback from the relevant organisations, would be in a position to give a detailed explanation in terms of the alternative arrangements for the relevant activities."

Mr. Lashley made the comments following reports which suggested that the National Primary Schools’ Athletic Championship (NAPSAC) and the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Athletic Championships (BSSAC) would not be at the stadium because the track would not be completed in time.

The minister said when he and officials of the Council had toured the facility recently they had been given assurances from the contractors and engineers, which allowed them to agree on a date and notify the public.

"Based on the information that I have gotten from the National Sports Council it does appear as though there are some issues that have caused that date to slide. The Sports Council has met with the various organisations responsible for NAPSAC and BSSAC and would have briefed them, as is usual in relation to any changes of those dates. I am assured that the parties are meeting to look at alternatives with the intention of ensuring that all of the relevant competitions are accommodated," he stated.

The Minister stressed that the current situation could not have been predicted. "We are dealing with putting together a track which has to meet international standards; and as Minister and certainly [officials of] the National Sports Council, we have to go based on the advice given to us by the engineers and the persons doing the work. So, if we are advised of a particular situation, then of course we have a responsibility to meet with the relevant parties and to advise them of that," he surmised.

Mr. Lashley added that the NSC was awaiting responses from the relevant organisations in relation to the contingencies that would have to be put in place.


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