Batavia Sports Club seeking further assistance for ground enhancement
By Akeem Greene
The community of Batavia, which is located in Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni), is keen on developing the youth population and the driver of that growth is sport. As such, the Sports Club is seeking to gain further assistance to continue the enhancement of the community ground.
Cricket, Volleyball and Football are the main sport activities that occur in the village and according to Roy Prince, the Vice-President of the Batavia Sports Club (BSC), they want to continue developing the facility to allow for activities to be hosted during the day and night.
Initial works have started with an G$800,000 grant received under the previous government, but according to Prince, given the magnitude of work required, they are still short of funds.
“We had a little grant from the former government, but it was a little bit too small to prepare the ground to the standard that supposed to be for football. We will seek where we can find help in assistance to [get the ground to] the standard it needs to be because we have a lot of young guys here who are active in football,” Prince related to News Room Sport.
“It is heartbreaking to me at times that these guys have to leave our communities and go into communities that are more equipped for the sports, and we have a ground right here…I talk to them not to give up the sport since it is one of the sports that takes a young person very far.”
At the start of 2021, BSC began clearing the land, which gives access to over 50 members, of which 26 form a female cricket team.
Prince wants to develop their sportspersons to such standards that they can travel to Georgetown, Linden, and other communities and compete.
“We began the process by hiring a skidder, which did the clearing of the bushes, and we spent G$300,000 on that and after it was not prepared right away the bush grew back.”
According to Prince, the funding is being controlled by the Village Council, who managed to get the ground cleared for a second time and paid G$85,000 for setting the base for the light poles.
He further divulged that the Toshao indicated they have just over G$500,000 remaining to prepare the lightening system and procure the generator, but it is not enough to complete the next phase.
“We were discussing recently, myself, the President [of Sports Club] and Vice Toshao, about how we can use this money but when we looked at it, the money will not be able to get the type of lights needed for a football ground in the night because we need bright lights. We were trying to see how we can come down to get this $500,000 to work but it still a bit too small.”
“I saw in the news after the budget passed, how much money was allocated for sport and the upgrading of grounds so I was telling them we can make a request to the Ministry of Sport for an additional sum and we can prepare a proposal with the type of lightening system needed and with the little that we have, how much more will be needed.”
Prince indicated they will soon finish the proposal for it to be submitted.
Sport has been given a major boost with $1.5 billion budgeted to facilitate development programmes throughout the country. It is the largest allocation ever for sport in Guyana.
Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh told the National Assembly during his budget presentation in February that of the overall amount, $915.5 million is allocated for the improvement of community grounds countrywide, to expand their use as parks, and create premium, multi-purpose, sporting facilities of international standards in Regions Two, Six and 10.
Other improvements include the installation of lights on community grounds, laying of synthetic materials at the athletic tracks in New Amsterdam and Wismar, and upgrading of other sport facilities.
Meanwhile, Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, who was conducting an outreach in the village, indicated they will soon restart the hinterland programme, and it is important that all communities have recreational space.
“In all the housing areas that we are developing we always make available space for recreational facilities and recreational parks. It is important that part of the development of a community we also provide this kind of space.”
The Minister added, “We serve one purpose and it does not matter which Ministry we come from. Our aim and our goal is to develop and improve the lives and well-being of all of our citizens and for this to be done in a fast-track way is for us to have collaboration with other ministries and agencies.”
During numerous outreaches, Sport Minister Charles Ramson Jr. has said that some grounds will have to be developed in such a way that the entire community can access for other family activities.