“You’re a man of your word”; Sport Minister praised for Buxton ground upgrade
“You’re a man of your word.”
That was the reaction of Robin Phillips, President of the newly-formed Buxton Playfield Committee, to Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Charles Ramson Jr. on Sunday afternoon.
The Minister was on a follow-up visit to inspect works on the Playfield, after he made promises to have the ground upgraded during an initial visit in December.
Speaking on behalf of the Committee, Phillips commended the Minister for ‘standing to his word.’
“He made a promise to us here in Buxton to upgrade this facility. Indeed, you have come up to the task that you set out in Buxton and I know that the community at large is very happy for what has been done on this playfield,” Phillips said.
Phillips explained that ground was “in a very terrible state; everything was just falling apart for a number of years.”
Minister Ramson Jr. said he was shocked at the state of ground when he visited towards the end of 2020, and it was important work was expedited to bring the facility to a respectable standard.
The big issue for Ramson Jr. was one of safety, as “the fence was falling apart” and electrical wires were on the ground, thereby putting residence at risk.
“What we did so far, directly with the community, we got the fence fixed, we got the ground filled and levelled, we got the stands fixed and repaired and we got the wiring fixed as well. Those things are really important for there even to be a baseline for us to do anything else,” the Minister highlighted.
To date, G$2 million has been expended on the facility.
This refurbishing project fits neatly into the Ministry’s plans to have the youth population engaged in tournaments, which the Minister has earmarked as a key driver of development.
With a space to showcase their athletic ability, those above-average players will then be identified for specialised training and coaching.
Minister Ramson Jr. said the Ministry, and by extension the government, will continue to work on building community relations, as it is an imperative step in the process of nation building.
As part of his visit, the Minister also presented football equipment to youngsters of the community.
‘Tremendous effort and investment’
The Buxton ground is predominantly used for football, and President of the local governing body, Wayne Forde, commended Ramson Jr. and the government “for what is clearly tremendous effort and investment that have gone in to upgrading this ground.”
“So Minister I think you have set a fine example; an example of one where you would have recognised the need to engage and do something positive in a community and you have backed up your commitment to them with action and investment. I think if that spirit can be replicated across Guyana, then it bodes well, not just for football, but for all sport disciplines,” Forde asserted.
Forde pointed out that in 2016 the Guyana Football Federation had made attempts to assist in the sprucing up of the venue, through the erection of goal posts, upgrade of floodlights and the acquisition of a transformer.
However, Forde highlighted that mitigating the “competing interests” in the community proved a challenge, which makes the current intervention even more significant.
“Many times when we go into communities and we try to implement these kinds of projects, members of the community cannot see beyond the impact that a good venue and good equipment will have on the youth. A community ground is a safe space; it’s a space that young people do things that are alternative to very deviant behaviours,” Forde stressed.
As part of its own infrastructural development programme, the Federation will soon commence upgrade works on the Ann’s Grove ground, East Coast Demerara, and another in Berbice. A combined G$20 million would be expended on those venues, Forde revealed.