The enhancement of sports in Guyana
April 1, 2004
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The President's successful lobbying for international community assistance - the pledge of a grant of US$6 million and a soft loan of US$14 million by India - for the construction of a sports stadium earlier testified to his administration's commitment to sports development in Guyana.
The Caribbean is bidding to host the 2007 World Cup Cricket and Guyana is seeking to be among the eight venues in which 51 games will be played. Hence the speeding up of plans to build the stadium, upgrade the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, complete an extensive road programme between Timehri and Georgetown, build a housing area able to accommodate more than 500 persons, and facilitate the construction of hotels to help absorb visitors for the games.
But while Government is engaged in the tremendous task of constructing a stadium - a US$20 million venture that will provide seating for 15,000 and herald Guyana as a Mecca of competitive sport - it is timely to look at another area of enhancing Guyana's involvement in sports.
There have been several attempts in grapple with the use of the area in Georgetown known as D'Urban Park. Many years ago it was used as a racetrack with a large pavilion and attracted many interested in horse racing. Apparently, interest in that sport declined and the area was finally denuded of such activity.
The Government through its Ministry of Housing and its Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports has been considering the use of this area for sports activities. Along with consultation with the Mayor and City Council, it is understood that plans were being made to turn the whole area of D'Urban Park into a sports park, the intention being to provide sports facilities to the urban population.
We understand that ideas put forward include a football field, another for cricket, basketball and tennis courts, as well as, a playground for children. Suggestions were also made to have tracks for cyclists and runners and a mall to sell refreshments and sports equipment. Another idea has come forward to also include in the sports complex, facilities for steelband practice.
We would like to urge that this project move forward. It should not require heavy funding. It is also possible that youth and sports groups could do voluntary work in leveling the fields, constructing fences, etc. It could be an admirable community project. Already young people are using the area for football and cricket.
It is also well to keep in mind the benefits accrued to the National Park, which the People's Progressive Party Government converted, in the 1950's, from an elitist golf course, and now used widely for walking, jogging, cricket, football, tennis and as a delightful picnicking spot.
It is certain that people will appreciate the transformation of the empty D'Urban Park lands into a facility that many, particularly our youths, can use and enjoy.