– Draft MoU to be finalized and signed by Gov’t & GFF for Land at Leonora
By Franklin Wilson
FIFA Development Officer (FIFA DO) with responsibility for Guyana, Howard McIntosh, has declared that it is time for “execution”, when he met with the media at the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) yesterday following a meeting with the Minister of Sport Dr. Frank Anthony and a visit he made yesterday morning to New Amsterdam in the Ancient County of Berbice to inspect a facility.
Sharing the press conference with McIntosh, which dealt specifically with the progress of Guyana’s Goal Project, were GFF President Christopher Matthias, General Secretary Noel Adonis and Executive Member Keith OJeer who has responsibility for Infrastructural Development.
Matthias informed that the GFF has been afforded land by the Government of Guyana at Leonora, West Coast Demerara which will see Guyana attaining a home for football and its development.
The original plot of land that was being used for the Goal Project, located at Orangestein on the East Bank of Essequibo where US$89,725 would have been expended, will no longer be used the GFF President stated.
“The understanding was and still is that the Guyana Football Federation will develop a building and two other training facilities, a large size and a mini pitch for football activities,” declared the President.
The meeting with Minister Anthony crystallized the current status of the project Matthias noted, informing that the relevant documents and a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) have been submitted to the Minister.
“They are some further requirements, brief requirements which must be in the MoU and we had discussions on those requirements and agreed that they would be submitted shortly and after that the signing of the MoU.”
McIntosh, in giving an overview of his visit, acknowledged the importance of the Media as a vital stakeholder in the world of football, while informing that he met with the Deputy Mayor of New Amsterdam Mr. Harold Debideen apart from visiting a number of facilities.
“Obviously, FIFA’s interest is to see the development of facilities in the region and specifically here in Guyana. We are always interested in seeing the game grow and we need to say it is not just growing in the capital city. I always ask the federation as much as possible to take me to other locations so that I get an opportunity to see the facilities there and to discuss the growth of the game there. So we had a fruitful trip.”
Commenting specifically on the Goal Project, McIntosh was quick to note that nothing has changed in terms of FIFA’s commitment to the project. However, he noted that they are concerned at the pace of the project and would love to see things moving along.
“Our interest is that we do get the facilities up and running. Delay in putting the infrastructure on the ground only hurts the sport so we want to encourage in all territories, not only here in Guyana, expediting the erection and construction of these facilities. So what we got today was a renewed commitment from the Government and the GFF in relation to moving things along.”
McIntosh, while acknowledging that there is a draft MoU that exists between the Government and the GFF that needs to be completed, informed that there was discussion on itemizing a Players Development Plan (PDP) which is part of what has to be done and the creation of a specific Task Force to move the process along quickly.
“My sincere hope is that in the coming weeks all of that would be finalized to allow us to move along with the process. Obviously part of the conditionality is that the GFF does receive a Lease for the Goal Project and that is something that the Government will have to work on and facilitate. We want to see the facility really get moving along.”
The FIFA DO also met with the GFF Executive last evening to discuss a few other matters which included Infrastructural Developmental Projects which GFF President Matthias would report on subsequently.
Minister Anthony was also updated on a few programmes the GFF would be running off shortly in partnership with FIFA including the Grassroots Programme, Girls and Women development.
“We have a motto in FIFA and it’s very simple, if you do, FIFA does and at the end of the day part of what our encouragement is to the GFF and to the government is, if we start doing then the commitment is that we will be doing. It’s as simple and straightforward as that.”
Commenting on a possible time frame for the start of the project, McIntosh posited that in the Caribbean, countries have not done a good job managing their projects while also pointing out that there are a few that shines out.
“What we need to do now is to try and take advantage of this opportunity, because it’s really an opportunity; there are not many sporting organizations that would say we are going to facilitate the development of your infrastructure and so part of this is to see things get moving very quickly.”
Asked whether he would be back in Guyana again to go over the same speeches again in relation to the project, McIntosh said: “I would not give this speech one more time. Personally for me, it is frustrating because it’s not only in Guyana that I would have to have this discussion. It’s frustrating because the commitment is there and the funds are available. It’s just that we now have to really put our shoulder to the wheel and get the job done. The federation must get the job done.”
McIntosh reminded that he is well aware that there are issues, but there was only so much that FIFA and himself can do in terms of getting things done.
In wrapping up, McIntosh encouraged the Media to play their role in ensuring that the GFF and the Government really take advantage of this opportunity to improve the infrastructure in the country.
“Because, for too long now the children and the football loving people of Guyana have been robbed of this infrastructural development; I would easily say, and I’m using the examples of countries in the region on their third and fourth Goal projects already and Guyana has not gone past one yet.”
“What happens now is that we will start to look at the countries that are not participating in the programme and have to develop a different strategy to ensure that the people who need to benefit, actually benefit.”
Matthias made a commitment that the other matters that need to be included in the MoU would be submitted to the Minister of Sport later this week.
The total amount expended from the original allocation of US$$400,000 is US$89,725.
Alki Investments & Trading Co. Inc. received US$52,595, while Rawle Jordon Associates Inc. received US$37,130 for works carried out at the Orangestein location.
The original project was to have been a Technical Centre and the approval or that Project was 2006-12-03.
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