FOLLOWING reports in various sections of the media by Manager of the Guyana National Stadium, Anthony Xavier, that the December 29 – January 1 Kashif and Shanghai tournament has ‘badly damaged’ the pitch at Guyana’s lone international cricket facility, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr, has double-down on the fact that the venue belongs to the people of Guyana and not a particular entity.
“Let’s be clear that the Guyana National Stadium is not owned by anyone; it’s owned by the people of the country. It’s not owned by any sport; it is owned by the various sports which require its usage in order for them to be able to advance their standing nationally and globally,” Ramson told reporters, after wrapping up a visit with other members of his ministry, to Guyana National Stadium.
The football tournament, hosted at Guyana National Stadium, saw the return of the Kashif and Shanghai tournament.
The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) saw the event as part of its UEFA ‘Bounce-Back’ Programme as well as preparation for the Qatar World Cup qualifiers, which will kick off on March 25 against Trinidad and Tobago.
Facts show that it has been almost four years since football was last hosted at Guyana National Stadium, prior to December 29, while cricket was last played at the end of February last year.
There’s no immediate plan to host cricket at the venue, but Secretary of the Guyana Cricket Board (GBB), Annand Sanasie, was quoted in an article: “Nowhere in the world would anyone play club football on an international cricket ‘square’ (area where the pitches are laid) in the rain.
“We wrote to the Stadium last week to seek permission for usage to prepare the 50-over Regional squad with some game assimilation sessions. We are yet to get a response.”
“It is brought to my attention, that a body that calls themselves the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB), wrote to the Management of the Stadium on January 6, to request the usage of the Guyana National Stadium in order for them to get ready for the Regional Super50,” Minister Ramson said.
He added that “in any event, I’m advised, the groundsmen require three weeks notice, in order for them to get the pitch squared in a ready condition for them to get to use it.”
Xavier, according to a Kaieteur News article, said “the six pitches on the square and almost the entire playing area on the ground, including the bowler’s run-ups are in a terrible condition due to the football which was played there in the rain”.
However, Ramson was perplexed after his visit yesterday. The ground staff at the stadium showed a different picture to what was reported.
Ramson believes that the report was a “concerted attempt to malign the ministry and also to prevent the use of the national stadium for football.”
According to Ramson, “The GFF is required to also be prepared for their World Cup preparation and representation which is going to be in March of this year.”
“There is no damage to this pitch to stop its usage in its normal preparatory timing. So then the question is, why would there then be a disconcerted attempt, to malign the stadium and the ministry, only for the usage of cricket and persons who are favoured,” the minister stressed
Ramson lamented, that in order for the people of the country to have maximum usage of the Guyana National Stadium, “We have to be able to have activities for people to actually use it.”