D’Urban Park, which will serve as the venue for a government fund-raising concert next month, is continuing to show signs of deterioration and remains a haven for vagrants.
Last Thursday, the government announced that as part of its continuing hurricane-relief efforts, it will be hosting a mega concert at D’Urban Park on November 11 to raise funds for the rehabilitation of the affected territories.
However, the facilities will likely be in need of some renovation based on their visible deterioration.
When Stabroek News visited the venue yesterday, long cracks and other defects could be seen on the main beams underneath the stands. Some of the seating has started cracking and has become uneven in places. While walking along the seats, some of them creak and shake with every step. Additionally, some of the bolts are exposed and becoming loose.
In addition to the structural deficiencies, the stands have also become a resting place for the destitute. Many homeless people have found sanctuary in the stands, where they can often be seen sleeping during the days and nights.
The men have become so comfortable that they have marked their special spots with the cardboards they use to sleep on. After they have finished using the stands, the men usually tuck their improvised beds under the bleachers until they are ready to use them again.
While Stabroek News was walking around the park yesterday, several homeless persons were sleeping on various stands around the facility.
When this publication questioned one of them as to why he uses the area, he explained that it is comfortable and breezy and no one stops him from using the area, even though there are guards stationed at the VIP area and caretakers that are responsible for keeping the area clean.
The park was also filled with litter. Plastic bottles and food boxes were among the garbage that was strewn all around the facilities, especially under the stands, despite two bins being allocated to each of the stands.
For the 51st Independence anniversary this year, substantial work had to be done even though the stadium was only a year old. The VIP section, stands and the tarmac had to be attended to.
The development of the park was mired in controversy in 2016 after it was discovered that the works on most of the stands were defective. After weeks of embarrassing disclosures about the poor construction work on the stands, President David Granger announced that the Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MPI) would take over responsibility for the project to meet a deadline for last year’s 50th independence anniversary celebrations.
After MPI took over the project and completed it in time for the celebrations, it was later revealed by an audit that the park cost some $1.37 billion to construct. Despite the price tag, the venue continues to be grossly underused.