The gym located at the Mindoo Phillip Park was once again vandalised sparking anger from users at the regularity of such incidents which usually result in damage to the equipment stored there.
Several clubs within the Castries basin use the gym, despite its dilapidated condition, to train their athletes. The Survivors track and field club is one of the many clubs which uses the facility having commenced their training programme for 2022.
According to national track and field coach Cuthbert Modeste “The culprit or culprits got in via the door, completely destroyed it, smashed the windows and threw some equipment unto the field.”
He said that netball, football, cricket, and basketball are the sporting disciplines in which the training facility is used for.
Modeste reported similar damages to the training facility in the past when offenders broke their way in and ransacked the place. “We are very wary of complaining multiple times to the authorities and absolutely nothing is being done. I simply hope something is done this time around in terms of having proper security.”
He continued, “It’s one of those things, but for it to be happening repeatedly it’s just annoying. It’s a facility for everyone.” You try and bring something to the young people, but it’s just a knock back each time something like this happens.”
Modeste, has been the mastermind behind the Survivors track and field club for 30 years. He has produced the following athletes: Jeanelle Scheper, silver medalist at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Isle of Man in 2011. She also represented Saint Lucia at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio and more; Heptathlon and Sportswoman for the Year 2013 Makeba Alcide, gold medal winner in the 100 metres at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas in 2017, silver medallist at the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina 2018; Julien Alfred, gold medalist in the men’s long jump at the Carifta Games in Saint Lucia in 2009; Lenny Leonce, bronze medallist at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Apia, Samoa 2015, Rochelle Etienne and Rosen Daniel and Jayeed Nobal just to name a few.
Modeste is also calling on the authorities to give the Mindoo Phillip Park the much needed attention that it deserves because of its rich history of sports in Saint Lucia. The park, he said, cannot be allowed to go to waste. A number of sportsmen and sportswomen made their mark at the MPP in the following sporting disciplines, cricket, football and track and field.”
“They need to fix the surrounding walls, renovate the stands to include the Cadet and Players Pavilions and get the lighting system working again,” Modeste said.
The VOICE contacted the office of Sport Saint Lucia Inc (SSI) for a comment, Chairman Francis Regis who visited the Mindoo Phillip Park to assess the damage to the gym said that he had assured Modeste that security measurers will be put in place to protect the sporting equipment at the facility.
The SSI Board was scheduled to hold its first meeting on Thursday 6th January. According to Regis, “Security for all sporting facilities managed by SSI will be the main agenda item.”
The Daren Sammy Cricket Ground and the Indoor Sporting facility located in Beausejour, the Mindoo Phillip Park and the Phillip Marcellin Ground are all under the SSI watch.
The VOICE also spoke to the President of the Saint Lucia Athletic Association (SLAA) Cornelius Breen. This is what he had to say on the situation.
“This is very disturbing and as an association it is a step back for the many athletes who use the gym to aid with their development. We may have to explore alternative venues or arrangements for our athletes,” Breen said.
The SLAA Chief said, “It is sad to see that some persons have no regard for the investments the athletes are putting in daily.”
“We also now have to look at our gym in the south located at the George Odlum Stadium (GOS) to invest in security cameras since we can’t afford a similar situation like what took place at the Mindoo Phillip Park,” he added.
Ask whether it was an attack on track and field, Breen said, “This is not the first attack, but it looks like it’s deliberate or the individuals are crying for attention.”
He added, “We will have to meet with the Ministry for Youth Development and Sports at the soonest to discuss the situation and also our developmental plans going forward.”
Also weighing in on the situation is the Elite track and field club, another user of the MPP. The club, earlier this week wrote to Sports Saint Lucia Inc seeking a dialogue on measures moving forward.