The THA will soon be given the responsibility to manage the Dwight Yorke Stadium, according to Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe.
Cudjoe was at the time delivering the feature address during the official reopening of the Bacolet stadium on Saturday. The stadium has been undergoing rehabilitation works for two years.
Cudjoe said: "When we complete, the intention is to hand this facility over to the Tobago House of Assembly. Sport development in Tobago falls under the remit of the Tobago House of Assembly. This is the only facility on the island which now falls under the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs and it is our intention to hand it over to the people of Tobago so you can use this facility freely."
The Minister acknowledged the facility has faced "many years of poor maintenance and neglect," claiming it has finally received the kind of attention and investment it deserves.
"But the development you see before you today did not happen overnight, it was two years ago that the government took the decision to fully refurbish this facility. It started with only treating with the health and safety issues and as we got in and started to do the work, we recognised more work needed to be done and if we are to deliver to the people of Tobago, it must be to the highest standard,” she said.
The project, which started at $5 million to initially just cover phase one, is estimated at $20 million.
Cudjoe added: “So the project included phase 1, phase 2 and phase 3 and now we are at the point of refurbishing the gym providing first-class equipment to the VIP rooms and even refurbishing the track so we can stand side by side not just...in Trinidad, but next to any facility throughout the Caribbean, and feel proud of it.”
The project phases, she said included architectural repairs, structural and mechanical, electrical and plumbing repairs, flooring and lighting works, security infrastructure and cosmetic maintenance.
"While there are some minor touches to be completed, I stand confidently in assuring that the government continues to work diligently to deliver the items that are still outstanding and that is to provide the promised state-of-the-art gym equipment to the benefit of our local athletes, to do the refurbishment of the track and to deliver the turnstiles where we can truly turn this into a wealth-generating facility."
Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy called on the public to exercise due care for the facility.
"It is not only up to the Tobago House of Assembly, the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs and the executives to safeguard and protect and keep this facility in good condition... it is up to all of us as Tobagonians. We have invested significant sums to bring it back where it is and it is indicative of the people of Tobago that when we invest in out facilities, that we embrace it, we use it to build all of us, collectively."
THA Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis endorsed the sentiments of Webster-Roy noting that the Assembly, but more so the tourism division intends to capitalise on the facility.
"It would create a number of opportunities for track and field, for football and maybe other sporting disciplines that are not available in other parts of the Caribbean. I don't know if you realise, here in Tobago we have the highest number of sporting facilities per capita in the Caribbean," he said.
"I want to commit as well that in the very near future, we would be constructing here in Tobago an international cricketing facility that would rival any in the country," he said.
SOURCE: T&T Newsday