Massacre basketball court roofing project underway (photo: department of sports - Dominica)

ROSEAU, COMMONWEALTH OF DOMINICA, SUNDAY DECEMBER 02, 2018 – The Government of Dominica is moving ahead with plans to improve sporting facilities on the island. Despite the widespread destruction left in its wake by Hurricane Maria, the Roosevelt Skerrit led administration is seeking to invest significant sums of money into the island’s sporting infrastructure.

Work is progressing on the covering of the Massacre basketball court, and the Government of Dominica is spending close to EC$700,000.00 on this project which is to benefit the sports of basketball, volleyball, boxing, among other disciplines.

The Massacre basketball court project is now a reality following the initial announcement in 2016 by Acting Sports Minister Kelvar Darroux at the 24th Annual School Sports Awards.

According to Darroux at the time: “The government in this financial year which is coming, will ensure that we cover the facility at Massacre to facilitate indoor games so that our young men and women can continue to play their volleyball, their netball, basketball even when it is raining outside.

“This a commitment of the government towards the development of sport.”

Another component of the Government of Dominica’s plans include the construction of a multipurpose indoor facility at Stock Farm, which will consist of three courts in order to host netball tournaments; a requirement of the International Netball Federation.

However the plans for the facility’s development suffered a major setback when according to Darroux, funds for indoor facility had to be re-diverted to greater priority needs, which resulted from the passage of Tropical Storm Erika in 2015.

At the 24th Annual School Sports Awards, the Acting Sports Minister Kelvar Darroux had stated, “We also had earmarked five million dollars for an indoor sporting facility, and then after the passing of Erika, we had to re-divert the funds to allow for greater priority.”

But he gave the assurance then, that “The government remains committed towards the indoor sporting facility and we will pursue this facility to ensure that our young men and women can have a facility to play even when it rains and pours.”

According to the Department of Sports official, the designs of the multipurpose indoor facility, aquatic and tennis complex for Stock Farm is complete, and should be going to tender soon. The architects were in Dominica recently, and presented their final designs to stakeholders and the Cabinet of Ministers, along with conducting a site visit.

Windsor Park situated in the heart of the capital Roseau, was severely damaged by Hurricane Maria, which left the island of Dominica resembling a brown patch of land, devoid of any foliage and life.

Windsor Park in Roseau after the passage of Hurricane Maria in 2017 (photos: department of sports – Dominica)

Just over a year later, and millions of dollars spent, Windsor Park will be hosting regional cricket, when the Windward Islands Volcanoes hosts the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in a ninth round game in February 2019.

According to the official, “The area at Stock farm already has the FIFA Goal 2 project which is a football field. The indoor facility in going to be built on the same compound, along with two tennis courts. All these are in close proximity to the Dominica State College.

“Two tennis courts are also planned for the second town of Portsmouth as part of these overall sport infrastructure development.”

Meanwhile there are also estimates in the 2018/19 budget for the redevelopment of the Geneva Playing Field in Grand Bay. The Geneva Playing Field was damaged by both Tropical Storm Erika and Hurricane Maria in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

Athletics is also receiving attention as the Government of Dominica has already expressed an interest in making land at Warner on the West Coast, available to the respective national bodies, namely the Dominica Olympic Committee and the Dominica Amateur Athletic Association for the construction of a track and field facility.

All of this the official pointed out is in keeping with the Government of Dominica’s plans towards a more holistic development of Dominica, by making facilities available for the people to utilise their sporting potential, beneficial to the socio-economic development of the island.

In addition to the close to EC$1-million being spent at Massacre, the Stock Farm complex will cost about US$6-million, EC$6 million was spent to rehabilitate the Windsor Park, and approximately EC$250,000.00 is earmarked to rehabilitate the Geneva Playing Field.

With millions of dollars already spent, and millions more budgeted to be spent on a number of sports facilities, the Department of Sports official says that “we can well understand and appreciate the significant investment in sports development.”