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Smith reveals $5M for first phase
Following years of neglect and being in a state of disrepair, repair works on the Dwight Yorke Stadium have commenced and are expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Sports Minister Darryl Smith, Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe, Secretary for Youth and Sport THA Jomo Pitt, former Captain of the National men's senior football team Dwight Yorke, as well as officials from UDECOTT, toured the facility on Tuesday.
Speaking to the media after the tour, Smith said, measures are being undertaken to ensure that the stadium is not allowed to fall into such a state ever again.
The first phase of the project is estimated to cost $5million with upgrades to the roof, electrical and plumbing, while a further $25 million is still to be sourced to continue the project the Minister revealed.
"For the first time we are going to have a maintenance policy, which will ensure that this does not happen again and it's not just Dwight Yorke. We have started Dwight Yorke, we are going to be looking at the Mannie Ramjohn, the Larry Gomes Stadium, the Ato Boldon Stadium as well, so you would be seeing those being done as well, finally after fifteen years," Smith said.
The repairs have been divided into four phases. Work has commenced on the first phase, which is expected to be completed by July 2018. However, when questioned about the length of time taken to complete the much needed repair works on the stadium, Smith said alot of background work had to be completed before hand.
Minister Cudjoe believes that haggling between the Ministry and the THA about who was responsible for the facility would have contributed to the delay, but Smith said, this situation would soon be a thing of the past as the stadium would be handed over the Tobago House of Assembly some time in the future
"Right now the Dwight Yorke Stadium is under the Ministry of Sport and hopefully with our reform for Local Government and Self Governance for Tobago, once this is done, it's something that we will definitely be talking to the Cabinet and the THA to have an official handing over of the facility to the THA" he said.
Smith also said, he was pleased that Dwight Yorke, who has experience on an international level, with world class facilities, was now apart of the process.
Meanwhile, Dwight Yorke who expressed shock and disappointment over state stadium in the past said, the move was a positive step, in light of all the negative comments he has heard about the facility bearing his name.
"There has been quite alot of frustration which I understand, I do not condone it", the Minister said, it has been fifteen years and anytime you let something of this magnitude gets out of hand, it's always going to deteriorate very quickly, but I look on the positive side. "I've always been a positive individual and I think that today the fact that we are all here representing to get the stadium up in the appropriate usage to allow the athletes back into the stadium to use the facilities, has to be a positive," he said.
A lack of maintenance of the Dwight Yorke Stadium led to the implementation of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) restrictions and it has remained closed to the public.
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