Aug 31, 2012 Sports Comments Off on Response to letters questioning location of all weather synthetic athletics track
Letters recently appeared in the local media, under the name of a Claudius Prince, still questioning the choice and wisdom of locating the national, all weather synthetic athletic track in the vicinity of Leonora, West Coast Demerara.
Even as the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport recognizes and fully respects Mr. Prince’s democratic right to express his opinions, it tires of having to repeatedly explain and defend its reasoned and well intentioned decisions and actions. Especially, as in Prince’s correspondence, when the various writers’ views and conclusions are clothed in racial innuendo and accusations of ethnic biases of some sort.
The Ministry of Sport, granted certain budgetary allocations, over the years to provide much needed sports infrastructure for our athletes, always has national considerations in mind when approaching such projects. Never do we think of which race or political group resides in some area or would probably stand to benefit from such facilities. These NATIONAL facilities are constructed for the benefit of ALL.
Mr. Claudius Prince, if he is the person who was once associated with us, would be aware of certain basic, but compulsory, criteria which must govern the location and construction of a facility, such as an all-weather synthetic track.
Prince and other interested citizens, biased or not, must know that among those desirable conditions are: availability of adequate land (space) for construction of the facility (after cadastral surveys); additional reserved space to accommodate vehicle parking and future related facilities; environmental and health related surveys and permits to ensure safety standards; allowance for the space to construct separate water and sewerage treatment facilities, if necessary. All this is in addition to the suitability of the soil (non-landfill), tolerance for gradients and flatness of the finished surfaces, weathering plant loads; effects of ground water and sub soil ground movement; a porosity to allow free drainage into sub soil or drainage systems for a 580ft by 304ft track, in keeping with the UK’s National Athletics Facilities Strategy 2007-2012 Design Guidance Note Guidelines.
Initially the Design and Construction Consultants were requested to investigate seven (7) sites from Bourda and D’Urban Park in Georgetown to three on the West Coast Demerara to two on the East Coast of Demerara. In summary, only three sites Bourda (Guyana Football Club and Georgetown Cricket Club) D’Urban Park Ground and Leonora, met the minimum required size with the latter being found to be the most suitable, given cost for civil works and the other wide array of varied, required facilities.
The Ministry of Sport will not bother to detail all the other consultations and considerations entered into before the Uitvlugt Leonora site was finally decided upon. However, there is one fact we’ll now make known to Mr. Prince: the Ministry of Sport earnestly wished that either Bourda or D’Urban Park would have been available and appropriate but that was not to be. It might still be useful, for near future consideration, if Mr. Prince could assist in the identification of two or three sites suitable for such a Synthetic Track facility, which fall within the Georgetown vicinity.
The Ministry has noted the quotes used “Substantiate” the letter writer’s views; it has red herrings about Hindu and Cattle farmers’ protests, as well as the potential challenges likely to be faced by those athletes who will be desirous of using the facility. Our response to all those is simply that the Synthetic Track will be efficiently completed and made quite accessible to all who can benefit from it. This facility will most certainly be found to be a boom to the nation’s athletes, fulfilling many obvious objectives.
This seems to be a good season for public mischief, no matter how disguised it is, by way of debate, academic discourse or advocacy on behalf of some imagined greater good.
To accuse the government of some form of political or race based discrimination in the choice of the Leonora Location, smacks of such mischief.
We expect much better from the real Mr. Claudius Prince.
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