Prime Minister Gaston Browne, representative for the constituency of St. John’s City West, is responsible for destroying the community’s sporting culture, charges Alister Thomas, the United Progressive Party (UPP) Candidate.
Thomas says that Point and Villa had two playing fields – the Blackburn Park and Westham Field – before they were both destroyed by Browne. However, Browne transformed part of one field for administrative use by the Antigua Port Authority and used a portion of the other for the construction of a polyclinic, he says.
Many of this country’s prominent athletes – from City West and other communities – were the product of those two playing fields, Thomas asserts.
Accordingly, he says, it is a shame and disgrace that the Prime Minister has brought both fields into such ruin, which has stagnated sports in the community.
If these fields were operational, Thomas believes, many of the young men who have fallen into crime could have been put on a more productive path through engagement in sports to occupy their time.
While there is a section of the Blackburn Park that could have been used, it has been left to deteriorate, Thomas says.
Further, he says that money was borrowed to effect repairs to the field, but nothing has been done; and he alleges that there has been no accounting for those funds.
For decades, the Villa Primary School, which sits in proximity to the Westham playing field, conducted its Physical Education activities there and used the Blackburn Park for Sports Day events.
Blackburn Park was gifted to the community by a former Governor for the development of the youth and people of the City West constituency.