Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Was Lara stadium opening a flop? SPORTT says no

...7,000 were there says fire service

Spectators kiss a photograph of batting legend Brian Lara at last Friday's opening of his stadium and cricket academy in Tarouba. Photo: DEXTER PHILIP

The Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago has debunked the claim by Princes Town Member of Parliament Barry Padarath that Friday's opening of the Brian Lara Cricket Academy was a disaster of enormous proportions.

In a media release issued on Saturday, Padarath claimed that the Tarouba facility attracted less than 2,500 patrons to witness the opening ceremony and the exhibition Twenty20 match between a Brian Lara XI and an International XI.

However, Sports Company Communications Officer Natasha Nunez said the figure quoted is totally false.

“We are not in a position to give what the official numbers were and I don't to want to be on record of quoting a figure that has not yet been officially substantiated but the attendance was significantly more than 2,500.”

Nunez said that the official figure would be presented at a meeting on Tuesday and would be subsequently made available to the public.

And an official of the Fire Prevention Department at the Mon Repos Fire Station informed Express that at 9pm their count was around 7,000. The official stated that while more patrons entered the venue he's not sure if there' going to be an updated count.

The facility has a capacity of 15,000.

In his press release Padarath labelled the event a flop and said it was an indictment on the current People's National Movement (PNM) administration and illustrated that the majority of the population was unhappy and dissatisfied with the myriad of issues surrounding this facility, resulting in them staying away.

He congratulated the people of Trinidad and Tobago for rejecting the "shed of shame" that has been shrouded in massive amounts of waste, corruption and mismanagement, but more so because it continues to remain a safety hazard to those attending any events at the facility.

Padarath also has called on the Minister of Sport and the Chairman of Urban Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) to put in the public domain the fourth and fifth sets of independent tests done on the welds of the stadium that refutes the findings of the original 2009 Arun Buch and Gerry MacCaferey reports, which shows that the welds failed two sets of independent tests prior to 2010 as contained in the UFF commission of inquiry report.