Upgrade to community grounds to continue in 2022- Sport Minister


The upgrade to community grounds across the country will continue in 2022, Sport Minister Charles Ramson Jr. told the National Assembly on Tuesday.

In addressing a statement made by Shadow Sport Minister Jermaine Figueira that sport development is much more than ground enhancement, Ramson Jr. argued that grounds were neglected under the previous administration, hence the concerted effort to raise them to a decent standard.

“They were in such a poor state. And that is why the Ground Enhancement Programme is so popular because it is making such a big difference to the people of the country,” the Minister said.

To date, over 20 grounds have benefitted from the programme.

Ramson Jr., speaking during the 2022 Budget Debates, also highlighted that from the 2021 allocation the Ministry was able to install floodlights to nine community grounds.

Significantly, some of the grounds that have so far benefitted from the Ground Enhancement Programme played hosts to practice matches and warm-up sessions during the Guyana leg of the 14th edition of the ICC Men’s Under-19 World Cup, which was hosted in the Caribbean for the first time.

“And I’m pleased to announce as well that in this year’s allocation there will be G$250 million in our budget for ground enhancement,” he told the House.

Flashback! Sport Minister Charles Ramson Jr. (left) during a visit to the Essequibo Coast in April 2021 as part of the Ground Enhancement initiative

Since assuming office in August 2020, Minister Ramson Jr. and his team have been constantly visiting grounds nationwide with a view of having community participation in the development process.

He pointed that a similar approach was taken in the crafting of the 2022 Budget, the country’s largest at G$552.9 billion.

“For sport, the budget is $3.15 billion with a capital of $2.4 billion and every single sport association and federation has issued statements for the first time in the history of this country in support of the government, in support of the ministry, in support of the programme and the relationship that they have with the minister and the National Sports Commission,” Ramson Jr. explained.

Infrastructure development

Meanwhile, in his Budget presentation late last month, Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, detailed that $1.4 billion is budgeted in 2022 for sport infrastructure and development.

These include for the completion of the synthetic tracks in Regions Six and 10; the multi-purpose sport facilities; the erection of stands at the National Track and Field Centre; rehabilitation works at the National Stadium to support the Cricket Academy; construction of pavilions at Region Six and 10; and the procurement of sport gear.

Of this amount, $250 million is also budgeted for the continued improvement of the community grounds.

In 2021, 25 community grounds across Regions One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven and 10 were upgraded, and preparatory works have begun for the construction of the multi-purpose sports facilities at Regions Two, Six and 10.

Aside from this, the sum of $45.8 million is also allocated for maintenance works to sport facilities, including the Mackenzie Sports Club, Kwakwani Recreational Centre, National Aquatic Centre and Colgrain Pool.

The Senior Finance Minister in his speech further stated, “The sport programme aims to ensure that all Guyanese are provided with opportunities to participate in sporting activities, thereby channelling energies, abilities and talents to contribute meaningfully to national development, in its various dimensions.”

The investment being made in the sector is aimed at ensuring the execution of the President’s vision for a vision of a “bottom-up approach” to the development of sport.

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