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Author Topic: Unfit for play? Minister hints ‘Brian Lara’ not suitable, TTCB wants proof  (Read 782 times)

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Unfit for play?
Minister hints ‘Brian Lara’ not suitable, TTCB wants proof

By \\\\\ Mark Pouchet
Story Created: Sep 11, 2014 at 9:03 PM ECT

Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) president Azim Bassarath that a report on the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba should be made public.

His call came following a statement yesterday by Minister of Finance Larry Howai that suggested that the facility may never be used for cricket.

On the I95.5 fm Morning Show yesterday, Minister Howai said he had been told that the Stadium cannot be used for cricket by officials inside the Ministry of Sport. Howai said he has asked for expert advice and a report to determine what can be done with the Stadium.

“The suggestion was yes, it (Brian Lara Stadium) can’t be used for that (cricket) in the sense we may not use it for the original purpose,” Howai said. “ I am being told that it can’t be used for that because of all the problems associated with the facility, geological issues, can’t have a proper pitch. But I am not qualified in that area. So I have said: “ Tell me, confirm to me that is not so. I want futher (expert) advice and I want it in writing. I don’t want a Minister to tell me this is the case...and if that is so, that it can’t be used for cricket, then what else can it be used for, because I can’t afford to have one billion sitting down, parked up in any piece of facility.”

However, Bassarath said the Trinidad and Tobago senior team played two practice matches there in the build-up to the 2009 regional season and players reported that the pitch was one of the better surfaces they had played on, with good bounce and pace.

“So I don’t know where he (Howai) got that information from,” Bassarath said, “I know a lot of taxpayers money has been paid into that facility and the Government at the time would have completed some geological studies before they undertook the execution of that project. So I am very surprised to hear the Minister of Finance say this.”

Bassarath said if a further report needs to be done, the Government should conduct it and make it public.

“The report should come forward because the country can’t afford to have a facility like that where a billion dollars was pumped into its construction just lay around,” Bassarath said, “ We at the TTCB want the cricket stadium because it would help us in reducing our operational costs.

“We are currently owing the QPCC (Queen’s Park Cricket Club) a lot of money for the hosting of matches in the regional tournaments and we really didn’t have the funding for this. If a national cricket stadium can come on stream, it will be used to curtail the expenses of the TTCB, and while we would require some assistance from the Government in the maintenance of the facility, as the body responsible for cricket in the country we will be more than willing to manage the facility.”

In his interview, Howai said he had suggested to Cabinet that the Aquatic Centre be put on the same compound but the suggestion was rejected based on the same geological concerns of the ground at Tarouba.

The Brian Lara Cricket Stadium was started under the Patrick Manning administration with the intention that it be used for the 2007 Cricket World Cup. The original $250 million price tag has since skyrocketed to over $1billion due to cost overruns and delays.


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What a mess with Tax payers money ....

Someone needs to be Jailed .... :pissedoff:


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Howai advised no sport at Tarouba
By STEPHON NICHOLAS Friday, September 12 2014

Seven years after it was originally scheduled to be completed and over $1billion later, Finance Minister Larry Howai says that he has been advised that the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba is not fit for sporting purposes.

Howai broke the news in an I95.5FM radio interview yesterday morning, stating that he has been told that due to geological reasons, the facility is not fit to house either a cricket stadium or an aquatic centre.

“I am being told that it can’t be used for that because of all of the problems that are associated with the facility — particularly geological is the main issue. You can’t really have a proper pitch and whatever — I am not really qualified in that area — so I am saying confirm to me...and I want to see it in writing,” he declared.

Howai added that he is not willing to see one billion dollars squandered without the public benefitting in some capacity and is contemplating alternative uses for the sprawling complex.

“If it can’t be used for cricket, tell me what it can be used for. I don’t want to have a billion dollars parked up in any piece of facility,” he continued.

Howai’s revelation yesterday was quite startling considering Housing Minister Roodal Moonilal in May earlier this year had indicated that the Government was intent on finishing the project but not until the 2014/2015 budget had been delivered.

“We are hoping with the next budget to get some funds to meet and treat with that. We have always said that we will finish it, it’s just that resources must be available,” Moonilal had said.

The Brian Lara Stadium, with construction beginning in 2006, was a project of the then PNM administration and was supposed to be completed in time for the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup hosted by the West Indies.

Yesterday, Azim Bassarath, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) expressed shock with the latest development.

“We are very surprised at that. I’m quite sure a feasibility study would have been done, soil tests and all that would have been done before construction takes place. I know that in 2009, the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board used there to have two practice games as preparation for the 2009 Champions League tournament. From the reports that we have had from the players, the pitch played very well and the outfield is excellent. We don’t know where that study and report came from that the place cannot be used for sporting activity. We would like to see the report and who did the report and so on,” Bassarath stated emphatically yesterday.

The TTCB head noted though that if accurate, the situation is an embarrassment to the country and a blow to taxpayers.

“If that report does exist, and I am not saying the Minister is lying but, if it is true, it is devastating news for people of the cricket fraternity.

We were looking forward for an international venue for cricket in south Trinidad. I have made numerous calls for an international venue and the Brian Lara Stadium was an ideal target. We wanted to get hold of the facility, manage the facility for the Government, use there for regional games and some of our international games. We would have been saving quite a tidy sum of money when we have to rent the Queen’s Park Oval to host these regional and international games,” he concluded.


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Does anyone really care about sport?
Published: Guardian
Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tarouba stadium...how much benefit has it brought to our sporting community?
Asha Defreitas-Moseley

​It has been a while since I have published an article for my column and now that I am back, I sit here looking for inspiration on something to write. Something relevant and pertinent to the local environment.

I struggle to find it as a part of me wonders, “What is the point anymore? Does anyone really care? Is anyone really listening?”

Project after project, millions of dollars have been spent on failed ventures in Trinidad and Tobago and no real consequence or accountability shown for it.

The new budget proposes a 30 per cent reduction for sport and although this is not a good thing, can anyone really blame a decision like that? We have Tarouba, a grossly overpriced flag and Life Sport to show for the billions that were spent between these projects and how much benefit has any of them brought in return? Worse yet, has there been any justice to the people? I am no politician so I won’t pretend to understand or be even interested in the political games of this land but it certainly appears that malfeasance has become the order of the day.

“You can bring the horse to the water, but you cannot make it drink it.” Could that saying be any more pertinent to the local sports industry.

On social media I still read some folks’ belief that there remains a lack of understanding or awareness that sport has become more than a hobby now but a real business entity, perfectly capable of sustaining itself while positively impacting the country and the lives of its citizens.

However, technology has long advanced beyond the feasibility of that excuse, breaking down the barriers of communication that may have crippled us some 30 years ago. Ignorance is certainly no longer a valid excuse. It is the strength of character that is lacking in many of our ‘leaders’ that is the problem.

There are people in this country with the knowledge, experience and genuine desire to make a difference in the lives of young athletes but few get the chance to make an impact. I have sat in on several brain-storming sessions in various sports disciplines that include martial arts, volleyball and rugby as well as discussions to better provide general athlete health care to national athletes and every time I am disappointed to see nothing come out of it. If we could have someone sit at the helm with a genuine desire to positively impact on the way athletes and sports are managed starting with the basics, it can be proven that while the task is not easy, nor without expense, it is possible to create sustainable projects even in our small island and produce better prepared, better equipped, more focused athletes.

I have heard it said by some of our icon athletes that things are not necessarily worse than they used to be… they just have not changed much. It is very debatable that by this very fact that we can be seen to have regressed. Despite being a country blessed with so much natural and human resources, we still cannot bring a programme together that is athlete centred. Time and time again, foreign coaches are brought in to audit various sports programmes and make recommendations and every time the recommendations of these elite coaches echo the sentiments of the local professionals. The difference is, a bucket of money was spent to hear it said from someone else. This repeating pattern has become tiring.

I have been working in the sports industry since 2007 and I am grateful for the opportunities I have been afforded in that time but there is the need to raise the bar. Given all the squandering displayed over the last 15 years by government officials, I now find it hard to believe that the right tools cannot be afforded the relevant bodies to get what they need to raise the standard. It is simply a matter of prioritizing and recognising those worthy of such responsibility.


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