Major Upgrades Planned for Sports Facilities on the Island

By Reginald Andrew

SEVERAL sporting facilities on the island will be upgraded according to Youth Development and Sports Minister Kenson Casimir.

The Marchand grounds dubbed ‘the mecca’ of football
The Marchand grounds dubbed ‘the mecca’ of football

The minister disclosed that major upgrades are already being undertaken. He highlighted the ongoing rehabilitation works at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground [DSCG], and the Mindoo Phillip Park [MPP], the priority grounds in Saint Lucia’s preparation to host matches for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in June.

Additionally, construction works are set for the Gros Islet playing field – which will be transformed into a mini-stadium and fully enclosed with required amenities.

Speaking about the conditions at the MPP, Casimir noted that the stands and roofing at the facility have been transformed.

“Over the last two years, we have certainly done a lot of work at the Mindoo Phillip Park,” he told reporters, at a recent media briefing.

Providing further update on the rehabilitation works at the MPP, he said, repairs will be done to the entire Players Pavilion area and other sections at the facility.

“I am very proud of the work that we have done at the Mindoo Phillip Park since for almost a six-eight years, there was no attention given to the Mindoo Phillip Park,” he contended.

“And so, for next year’s semi-pro league, we expect that the Marchand Football grounds will be available for Marchand’s home games,” the minister added.

The sports minister acknowledged the work put in to transform the MPP to efficiently stage the opening matches of the inaugural Semi-Pro Football League [SPFL] last weekend.

He said, the authorities made a deliberate and calculated decision to bring soccer back “to the mecca” original ground of football on the island, at Marchand.

“Castries football has been on the downturn for many years,” noted Casimir. “And under my watch, it will not continue. We have a lighting project that we are going to be doing at Vigie, with a pavilion included so that Central Castries can have a ‘home’ next year, in the semi-professional league.”

The Gros Islet MP also gave an update on work plans for the Gros Islet playing field. We are commencing work, next week, on the Gros Islet Mini-Stadium. Gros Islet will have its home venue for the semi-professional league, he explained.

Casimir said that vending at sports facilities is of utmost importance, and adequate measures will be put in place to cater for vendors from each of the respective affiliate districts to benefit off the economic returns from the SPFL.

And, of course, compensating the staff and so on. That is the vision for all the constituencies and come next term we will see that most of the teams (and district affiliates) will have their own venue, so that the Semi-Professional Football League could be what we truly want it to be, he asserted.

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