May 04, 2021 Sports
By Franklin Wilson
Kaieteur News – Minister of Culture Youth and Sport, the Honourable Charles Ramson Jr. is unapologetic in his and government’s quest to restore grounds across Guyana to its glory days as well as expand its uses to be more multi-purpose, allowing members of the communities to have access.
Since being appointed to the very important position of Sports Minister almost ten months ago, Ramson’s presence and will to take sports to new heights in all spheres has been seen and felt across this nation.
From his many meetings with sports associations/federations to share his vision and also to hear from their respective representatives, to his intervention in bringing back cricket to some semblance of normalcy after years of administrative combat to his visits to grounds and following that up with tangible support to improve infrastructure, Minister Ramson has brought an energy to the Sports Ministry arena that has never been seen in decades, if at all.
Ramson has noted that improving the infrastructure of grounds and making these facilities more accessible is deliberate as many of the venues have played a role in creating and developing many sportsmen and women who have gone on to represent Guyana with pride and even the West Indies in terms of cricket.
Just last week, Success, Buxton and Enterprise grounds on the East Coast of Demerara each received ten million dollars each to further boost their upgrading and refurbishment and on Sunday last, Enmore Community Centre received their shot of 10 million to bring it back to what it used to be, a top class cricket venue which also hosted athletics and football.
Other grounds to have the 10 million booster donation are Rose Hall Canje, Port Mourant, Line Path in Berbice as well as Affiance, Reliance and Queenstown in the Cinderella County of Essequibo.
Also this past weekend, Minister Ramson made timely visits to the West Ruimveldt, Better Hope and Plaisance grounds.
Also under construction is the Racquet Centre Tennis Court and the National Gymnasium among other facilities.
“We’ve got a lot more grounds to do and there are a lot more communities that would need, and will also receive my assistance. But how we’ve been programming our work is that, when I go and I assess, I take a report back to the President, I take a report to the Vice President, the Cabinet and the Government of Guyana is involved in making the decision; these grounds are the heart and soul of these communities and so that’s one of the reasons why, it’s not just one of these very shallow allocations to grounds anymore, it’s far more substantive.”
The young Minister has been stressing that the uses of these facilities must go beyond just sports: “We also want it to be used for leisure, exercise and re-oriented in that way if it could be. There are some grounds that can’t be really, but the main thrust that the Ministry has been pushing and the entire government including the President, has a very strong emphasis on families. It’s for people to be able to have a safe space to come and use within their community.”
Ramson also posited that community grounds have a strong and profound link to the members of those communities as opposed to residents in the city going to grounds and facilities within their jurisdictions.
He noted that doing what he has been doing brings joy to him as he has been going beyond to ensure success.
“You know I’ve been waking up sometimes in the middle of the night just trying to assist with drawings and ides of how funds can be used in the most prudent way so that you can get the most out of the money that you’re going to spend. Because if you spend on certain things all of your money could be gone and you wouldn’t really get the same kind of effect; so we’ve been playing with ideas, I’ve been consulting with all of the engineers, just talking to people generally, store owners, private sector on how we can use the money to get the best value for the community and for your money.”
People centered development
Delving deeper into the ultimate aim of making grounds accessible and maximising its uses for the people, Ramson stated that President Ali has been directing in a particular way, people centered development.
“It’s the community that we want to make sure that they have maximum value for being able to use the grounds. It’s not only about the facilities; it’s about accessibility to the facilities and user friendliness of the facilities. So that’s really the point.”
The approach to the Ministry’s facility infrastructure development programme has also been varied Ramson said.
“I’ve been doing it different because it’s about building with people. I’ve said this when I came in and if you noticed the trajectory has not changed, the message hasn’t changed it’s the same thing. It’s nine months in and it’s continuing. Some people thought that this was just a hot and sweaty start and they were questioning whether we would have been able to sustain this type of effort; I’ve told people I’m not even really putting my foot on the gas as yet, this is a cruising pace for me. It’s a very energetic government; it’s being led by an energetic President and the orientation that we’ve been building is really along the lines of partnership; Building a partnership with the people of the country.”
The focus Ramson shared in not just on one area: “The President when he came in said he wanted to be for all people, regardless of who you voted for, regardless of your race, regardless of anything he wanted to be a President of all people.”
With the level of investment being made, Minister Ramson also stated that follow up in terms of ensuring that the facilities are properly taken care of will happen continuously. Donation of equipment and gear would also take place.
“We’ve already started to donate some equipment to various grounds, slashers, brush-cutters and driving lawn mowers, some of these grounds are going to get that too.”
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