?Sport and Youth Affairs Minister Gary Hunt says the erection of a $2 million flag last year at the Hasely Crawford Stadium off Wrightson Road in Port of Spain was a misstep. Hunt admitted this in an address to the nation last night. There have been a public outcry against the cost of the project. "Although the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs continues to make great strides and have enjoyed considerable success, we have not always got it right," he said. "There have been a few missteps along the way and one of these has been the construction of a national flag at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. The proposal to erect a national symbol at a facility that bears the name of our only Olympic gold medalist was a noble one, but there were errors in its implementation." The flag, erected last year, was intended to encourage national pride, Hunt said, during a post-Cabinet news conference when questioned about the project last year.
Last night he said: "We have heard the public's concerns and have acted appropriately." He said he had since directed the Sports Company "to adjust its systems and policies to ensure that nothing like this occurs in the future. "A national flag should never become the source of conflict and controversy, and I wish to assure the national community that it will never happen again," he said. Hunt said the Government's policies had produced positive results for sports and youth development in T&T. He said, however, that there remained the need for more work to be done and the Government was aware of its responsibility in that regard. "We shall not shirk this responsibility," he said.
Hunt added that the Government was committed to work with communities, youth groups, schools and national sporting organisations to achieve more in sports and youth development. He said the Government continues to engage the youth population with innovative programmes, such as the Youth development and Apprenticeship Centres, which targets the vulnerable "at risk" youth to foster self-discipline and self-esteem. "As we look to the future, it is clear that we are on the verge of a golden era of sport in T&T. The many successes we have enjoyed in the last two years are just the tip of the iceberg and the best is yet to come," Hunt said.