In a few months time the country will have another cricket ground for matches, hopefully international ones as well. That’s the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, also known as the Tarouba Stadium, which has been in the making for over a decade.
That facility was supposed to host matches for the 2007 ICC World Cup, but it never was completed on time. The cost overruns became a political cork-ball, being knocked around for the subsequent years.
As the PNM Government took office in 2015, priority was apparently set on completing this stadium, with the input of the Prince himself—Brian Lara. Sport Minister Darryl Smith was quoted as stating “was this so difficult?”, as he referred to the efforts placed in completing the stadium, compared to the length of time construction had been dormant. Was it a case of neglect? Maybe.
But, members of the public are furious over the 90 million dollars being spent to complete it. There are those who are pleased to not have an ‘eyesore’ visible while driving down south and for the opportunities the extra facility will bring.
However, public comments we’ve seen, especially on social media, indicate that many would’ve better spent that amount of available funds on other things they deem important – including health, food, education and of course, safety.
This comes especially in a time where the country’s economic woes are being felt and the Government itself has to resort to cutbacks and high-priority spending. Given the efforts placed by the state itself in completing the Brian Lara Stadium, it leaves us wondering what things are really deemed ‘urgent’.
There still is no further word on the progress of opening the new hospital facility in Couva or the UWI South Campus. Some would argue that repair or rebuilding efforts being asked for at some dilapidated school structures should have been given more focus at this time.
The rationale behind their decision to prioritize the stadium should have made public. Did the Government see significant earning potential in the near future to justify spending so much at this juncture? If that was true, then a proper case could have been made for the need to complete the facility, instead of saying nothing and have citizens questioning the expense.
March 17th, 2017