Govt invests millions to overhaul over 250 sports grounds

Over 250 sports grounds received a much-needed facelift as a result of the government’s noteworthy injection of millions through the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports ‘ground enhancement’ programme.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Charles Ramson Jnr made the pronouncement during the ministry’s year-end report on Friday.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Charles Ramson during ministry’s year-end report on Friday

This has been the most elaborate ground enhancement programme the country has ever embarked on. We have done upgrades and supported the upgrades for over 250 grounds across the country,” he said.

These sporting facilities have the potential to foster positive social impact in promoting physical activity and health while fostering community engagement, and social cohesion, encouraging diversity and inclusion.

The minister also said that the government invested $1 million to support the enhancement of their grounds in 100 hinterland communities.

He further detailed that over 150 grounds were upgraded across the Regions and will continue to benefit from government’s support in a phased way.

However, in Georgetown, a whopping 31 grounds were rehabilitated for the first time.

Minister Ramson underscored that “some of these grounds have never even seen clearing. So, this is the largest scale of investment that we have ever done for community grounds.”  

The minister relayed that upon taking office in 2020, the conditions of the community grounds were in a “worse state”.

“The APNU/AFC cut the ground enhancement programme by over 50 per cent so when we were spending $300 million a year, they were spending on average just over $100 million on community grounds,” the minister said.

Revealing that in 2018, the opposition only expended $30 million on community grounds and much attention was needed to rectify this as “community grounds are the lifeblood of any community. A safe space for young people to play.”

Ongoing works on Community Ground in Sophia, Georgetown

Additionally, in 2024 all the grounds in Georgetown are slated to be rehabilitated in a phased way under the ministry’s capital investment programme.

Phase one will facilitate the clearing of the ground, landfilling, rolling, fencing and rehabilitation of the access point.

Phase two coming out of this year’s budget will facilitate the construction of washrooms, pavilions and stands among others.

All the grounds in Georgetown are being done and we are doing it in a phased way where the first two phases deal with the clearing of the ground, the landfilling, rolling, fencing and the access point.

“Those are the kinds of investments that we will be making now,” said the sports minister in comparison to the investments made by the opposition during its five-year tenure.