A management board to look after the affairs of the Guyana National Stadium at Providence is expected to be announced in another two weeks and income-generating activities at the stadium, which officially opened one year ago, have picked up over the past two months netting some $2.4 million.
However, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr Frank Anthony would not disclose the sum government had spent on hosting some of the Cricket World Cup 2007 matches in Guyana.
Plans are also in train for the establishment of a gymnasium at the stadium and this is expected to supplement the income of the stadium, Dr Frank Anthony told Stabroek News.
The gymnasium would operate on a membership basis and would offer some complementary services. Stadium Manager Anthony Xavier told Stabroek News when contacted that an area of the stadium had been identified for the gym and quotations were being sought for the purchase of equipment.
Meanwhile, in a telephone interview with this newspaper on Wednesday Dr Anthony still declined to disclose government’s expenditure for staging six matches in the Super Eight Series of the Cricket World Cup 2007 from March 28 to April 9, 2007 at the US$25 million stadium as well as other expenses incurred in building infrastructure and providing services before, during and immediately after the event.
When prodded, he said it was below US$100 million. The audited financial report was still with the Office of the Auditor General, he said, noting that it would be incorporated into the country’s comprehensive report on the staging of the event which would be laid in parliament. As yet, he could not say when the report would be laid in the National Assembly.
However, Stabroek News understands from reliable sources that it might not see parliament chambers until the first quarter of next year, which would be almost one year after the activity had been held.
Contacted about the financial statements and the reports, two members of the now disbanded Local Organ-ising Committee (LOC) who had also served on several sub-committees of the LOC, told this newspaper that even before the LOC and sub-committees had been dissolved they had been told that they would have been given copies of the draft reports for them to peruse and to make their own recommendations, but they claimed they had never seen the reports neither did they get the opportunity to make their recommendations.
Meanwhile, the stadium, which has been allocated the sum of $20 million for maintenance and payment of salaries from the national budget for this year is under constant review from the public, and there have been complaints about the toilets deteriorating rapidly since the Super Eight matches were held there earlier this year.
When asked whether the staff of about 15 was adequate to meet the demands of maintaining the stadium to the very high standard required, Dr Anthony replied in the affirmative, but added that when major events are held those renting the facilities are required to fulfil a number of obligations including cleaning up after the events.
He said that when major events were held those renting were required to sign a contract that would cover the cost of additional services such as taking on extra cleaners for the occasion. How-ever, the stadium staff would supervise the cleaning up exercise.
There are a number of difficulties which are being identified as activities are held, he said, and as they arise they are noted with the intention of correcting and improving on those areas.
Among the complaints about the services at the stadium is the matter of the washrooms and how they are kept.
There is a range of fees for the use of the stadium, and renting of the facility would depend on the part of the stadium being used, and the type of activities planned. Dr Anthony said that the average rental per event per day “at the lower end” is $100,000.
Xavier said that the concourse was rented recently for the Guyana Music Festival at a cost of $300,000. Depending on the activities, organizations were also required to pay a deposit of $100,000 to cater for damage, which is either refundable or non-refundable depending on the circumstances.
He noted that over the last two months activities at the stadium had picked up tremendously and the objective was to keep that momentum going.
While the cricket pitches have been kept busy with local, inter-county and regional cricket and training programmes, Xavier said there were a number of other income-generating activities which included the Guyana Night which had added to the stadium coffers.
The stadium has had to host a number of sporting and social activities, and given the response he believed that it was on the road to maintaining itself. “It is a good start and I don’t see the stadium not being able to maintain itself,” he said.
The facility is now set to host the Guyana Teachers’ Union annual track and field and cycling championships from November 12 to November 16, 2007.
Dr Anthony told Stabroek News that the government was in the process of identifying some persons who had been recommended to serve on the management board for the stadium.
He expected that a full board would be identified within another two weeks time. The duties of the board would be wide ranging, and it was expected that maintenance and other income-generating activities would be high on the agenda.