by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – As the Federation continues to delve deeper into sports tourism as an economic driver for our economy, repairs and upgrades to the sporting facilities must be made and up to international sporting standards if St. Kitts is expected to house regional and international sporting events.
The Ministry of Sports has said it is working to upgrade Sporting Facilities in St. Kitts.
In a video from the government information service, three facilities were highlighted, the Conaree Cricket Center, Kim Collins Stadium and the Newtown United FC Sporting Complex.
Jennifer Sirjue, Project Officer in the Ministry of Sports, spoke of the work done on the Conaree Cricket Center to include two sets of restrooms which were completed in June 2023.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports Valencia Syder on why the upgrades to the Conaree Cricket Center were necessary.
“It is our mandate to ensure that all our sporting facilities are up to a standard not just for community and local use but for regional and international use. The Conaree Cricket Center is fast becoming one of the most sought-after cricket venues around the Caribbean.”
Sports Minister, Hon. Samal Duggins, addressed the government’s push for sports tourism in the Federation, including providing optimal practice and training facilities.
“Now that department is well on its way to expanding our sports tourism sector… this facility will be part of that expansion and provide a proper platform because when teams from the region and overseas are looking for practice facilities when they are looking for training facilities, you must have all the amenities that make them comfortable and we see the addition of these bathrooms as such a step because one would imagine to be at the training facility and not have a place to go it’s not a wonderful experience.”
PS Syder reported that work on the Kim Collins Stadiums, the Federation’s premiere stadium, is expected to have its repairs begin shortly.
Minister Duggins lamented the facility’s current state and assured the people that the degradation of the Kim Collins Stadium would not continue.
“When you look at the condition of this facility to stand up and say it’s our premier facility is not a pleasing statement [to make]…as Minister of Sports, looking at this facility as our premier facility, it makes me a bit depressed… the track, the seating, the roofing on the stadium, everywhere you look there is [an] urgent need for repair…and while I’m only here now for some ten/11 months, I believe that we all must be held accountable as a country to the condition of our sporting facilities. The people of St. Kitts and Nevis that this will not continue. We are about to change the dynamics and give the people the best because they deserve the best.”
Jared Joseph, an engineer in the Public Works Department, gave a brief overview of the repairs to be made to the stadium.
“We’ll start with a full electrical overhaul of the building, including the lights, followed up with a full plumbing overhaul – replacing all the toilets – and then followed up by an overhaul of the structural systems; the steel systems-they will be sandblasted and repainted so it’s more aesthetically pleasing. Then we will be replacing the seats, including in the VIP area, with brand new seats… we’ll be replacing the dry walls to the back of the building with concrete walls, which should aid in the leaking issues we have, and fixing all other plumbing and leaking issues. We’ll be doing an overhaul of the interior rough as well as the interior tiles to make the athletes more comfortable on the inside as well as well as general aesthetic fixes to the bathrooms and the gym areas. Trying to make it a world-class facility.”
The Newtown United FC Sporting Complex has needed repairs for some time now as it is significantly degraded, and the Sports Minister even described the facility as a safety hazard. Repairs are expected urgently, starting with the removal of the roofing in the next two weeks.
Apart from a new roof, beams will be replaced; the Observer box will get a new viewing window, roofing and a paint job; the stands will be repainted; seats (wooden and aluminium) will be replaced with fresh aluminium, expected to be more resistant to the sea blast which makes up phase one of the repairs to that sporting facility.