A lack of maintenance of the islands recreational grounds have led to residents of one of the grounds turning to their own resources to prepare the fields so that they can continue to engage in sporting activities.
According to information broadcasted on a local media, Calder Hall residents bonded together to cut their ground, recently. Because of this information, Tobago News visited two of the grounds on the island at Mt. Grace and Montgomery, recently to observe the condition of both grounds. The grass at both grounds were very high indicating a lack of maintenance.
However, the recent unseasonal rains and insufficient man power have been cited as some of the reasons for the grass on some of the fields being slightly overgrown.
At the Montgomery ground where one school held its sports meeting on Jan 16, the Tobago News reporter saw one official of the Bethel United football team with his personal brushcutter busily cutting the high grass in front of one of the goal post. The team had a National Super League game the following day and if the ground was not playable, they would have lost the game by default to the team which had travelled from Trinidad.
The Shaw Park Recreational Ground where two games in the Nagicor Super 50 Tournament featuring Trinidad and Tobago against the West Indies Under 19 team and Windward Islands versus Barbados were staged recently came in for some heavy criticism because of the last minute work that was being hurriedly done on the ground before the first game on January 16. Workmen were seen cutting the grass on the morning of the game and there was a pool of water on part of the field because of the incessant rains which fell some days before the game, indicating an inadequate drainage system.
An official with the Division of Sport told the Tobago News that the situation at Calder Hall is not what was reported. He said that a team of persons has the responsibility of maintaining that ground and that the team was in fact the one which cut the ground.
At Mt. Grace, the responsibility fell to the same team in collaboration with a CEPEP team. What went wrong was a mix-up as the CEPEP crew pulled out and the necessary information was not passed to the team. It means therefore that the team will now be responsible for those two grounds in addition to the Idlewild ground.
The Division he said is a little overwhelmed in its capacity to maintain some of the 20 odd grounds with the depleted resources at its disposal.
At times it has had to exercise priority in its operation as it sought to deal with the maintenance of the grounds. The Division is now looking at outsourcing the work in order to ensure the fields are properly maintained.
The official also noted that the Montgomery field has been regularly cut whenever the request came to the Division. He said the unseasonal rainfall which we recently experienced contributed to the problem as grass grew everywhere.
The equipment could not have been used on the fields due to the soggy conditions and then they were called to prepare Shaw Park for cricket in the midst of all else. With sufficient notice and information from the teams to the Division of Sport, the official said that would help the Division plan well and eliminate this problem.