…Minister affirms the MSC belongs to the people of Linden, not the government
By Rawle Toney
FOLLOWING announcements by President Dr Irfaan Ali to include the dilapidated McKenzie Sports Club (MSC) in Linden as one of the three venues to be transformed into state-of-the-art multipurpose sports facilities, some residents took aim at the government’s sudden interest in a town they had ‘perceived neglected’ during the PPP/C previous tenure in office, while claiming that the administration wants to ‘take over’ the almost 70-year old one-of-a-kind facility. The Anna Regina Community Centre and the Blairmount Community Centre are the other two venues named by President Ali for modernization.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Charles Ramson Jr, who was tasked with seeing the proposals to fruition, debunked any notion of a take-over, while assuring Lindeners that the government has its people’s best interest at heart.
Ramson repeatedly dispelled any rumors in Linden about the deal being arranged for the government to assist the McKenzie Sports Club, while adding, “As you can see, it is in a really bad condition. What should we do as a government? Ignore a facility that needs assistance that could be for the benefit of everyone and not do anything about it?”
“For those who have an objection to the major works by the government, I am asking: what is their alternative that they are presenting for their own investment?” Ramson asked.
Only recently, a team headed by Assistant Director of Sport, Melissa Richardson that included architect, Orin Boyce and Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports representative, Kashif Muhammad, visited the McKenzie Sports Club, where they met with the entity’s Management Committee, along with Linden Mayor, Waneka Arrindell, and the Regional Democratic Council’s representative, Councillor Mark Goring.
Officials from the Chinese Embassy were also present, since the projects are slated to be funded by China.
Ramson affirmed that once the concept is agreed upon and finalised, the facility will remain within the management of the Mackenzie Sports Club committee, since government’s only intention is to provide athletes in Linden with the best possible facilities in order for them to succeed.
In keeping with a promise made during his campaign, Head of State, President Dr Irfaan Ali, announced on September 7, 2020, during a press conference, that the PPP/C Government will be building multipurpose sport facilities in Regions 2, 6 and 10.
President Ali said the move comes as his administration looks to “continue to support the growth and development of our young people and our sportsmen and women and finding new talent, while supporting every region of our country.”
According to President Ali, “these are some of the investment measures and policies that we will pursue in this emergency budget and in January, to bring relief, to create opportunities and to improve the welfare and wellbeing of all the people of our country.”
In their manifesto, which will guide government’s policy, the PPP/C Government also said they will provide a special fund for upgrading of sports and cultural facilities, as well as building Sport Academies in all regions.
Plans, according to the manifesto, will be in place to provide incentive packages for businesses that provide sponsorships or employment opportunities for sports persons.
The government also intends to upgrade the South Dakota Circuit, the country’s lone motor-racing track, to international standards.
Minister Ramson has reiterated that under President Ali, sports will not be left behind and the country’s sportsmen and women can rest easy knowing that they now have an administration that will cater to their needs.