… Addresses allegations of damage to Providence field

By Jemima Holmes

As the Guyanese saying goes, “There are three sides to every story; Side A, Side B and the viewer ”.
When it comes to the debate about the condition of the 22 yards at the National Stadium, Providence, this is the Minister’s side.
Just over a week ago, football fans rejoiced in the successful running of the ‘Bounce back Football Classic’, only to be met last Sunday with allegations that the pitch in Providence had been left in a state of disrepair following the activity.

The alleged condition of the field over a week ago

In due course, the Minister for Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr., on Tuesday afternoon asked for the unique presence of this announcement at the Demerara East Bank location, to demonstrate that no such damage had been done to the pitch.
In rebutting the claims of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB), Ramson conducted a thorough tour of the field and its environs with> to prove that he is not damaged, and that he is ready to prepare for any forthcoming cricket activities.
“You can see that there is no such damage to the pitch at the moment, and it will only take a couple of weeks for us to get the wicket ready for playing cricket,” Ramson Jr. shared.
The Minister stressed that, in any case, the wicket would need three weeks to fully prepare for any cricket action.
“And the wicket usually takes about three weeks to prepare anyway, because the National Stadium wicket is not kept at a stage where you can walk on and play. The wicket preparation generally takes about 3 weeks. So, anyway, there is a time to prepare before any international cricket, ”he noted, based on guidance from the facility’s landowners.

Sports Minister Charles Ramson inspects the field in Providence on Tuesday, accompanied by Grounds staff

The Minister went on to say that the request to use the facility for cricket was accepted on January 6, and as such claims that the time was not enough to complete preparations. He claimed that other parts of the venue could be used for the desired purpose of the GCB.
“The outfield can currently be used by anyone who wants to use it, if they decide on its appropriate use. The wicket would still need time to prepare, anyway, ”Ramson shared.

A snapshot of the state of the field as of January 12, 2021

He continued by saying, “The timescale at which the application came in from the body calling themselves GCB, it would not have been sufficient for them to be able to prepare for the days requested.”
Then came the issue of ownership and entitlement. To this, the subject Minister asserted that no organization has exclusive rights to use the venue, all sports have an equal right to use the venue for their activities.
“The stadium is not owned by any Association in Guyana, but is open to use by any Sports Association that may see it well,” the Minister explained. “This is not a white elephant. Nobody owns the Stadium, this Stadium is the people’s facility, ”said the Sports Minister.
A very concerned Ramson further expressed his disappointment in the orchestras of the narrative that the field was damaged. He has labeled that allegation as malicious.
“So for the people who claimed it was in a bad state, it’s very malicious. It’s also annoying, and shows that there was an orchestral attempt to depreciate the Ministry or to devalued football and to discourage use of the National Stadium for anything other than cricket, Ramson argued.
He revealed that the intention is to make the Stadium more suitable for other sports disciplines, stating, “We opened this facility a few months ago so that people can come and use this facility at any time of the day to exercise. Sport in this country is more than just cricket. Everyone loves cricket, but so do all other sports too, so we have to be able to cater for all other sports too. “
The ‘Bounce back Football Classic’ tournament was held at the National Stadium on December 29 and January 1. It was a collaborative effort between the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), the Kashif and Shanghai Foundation, and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport. However, on January 10, abuse by the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) shared a photo of the alleged damage to the field.

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