By L.K. Hewlett
St. Kitts Reporter
It’s anyone’s guess as to when the local 2007 St. Kitts Amateur Basketball Association league will begin. After being postponed several times, league officials say that they are still unsure of an opening date.
The Observer spoke to the newly elected president of SKABA Glen ‘Ghost’ Phillip who said that renovation to the facility on Victoria Road was the cause of the delay.
“The renovations are taking longer than we had initially planned. We spoke to the minister of public works who agreed to assist with the much-needed construction but the work was just not progressing as fast as we would have liked. Many problems arose such as lack of materials. At one point they ran out of nails and I had to physically go to get some from a hardware store. They had taken measurements for the seats and the boards that they brought were too short and not the right thickness,” he said.
The local sporting icon explained that the new management team had inherited a venue that was dilapidated and in desperate need of repair. He said that they could not start the league with the facility in the shape that it was, with rotted board seats and a ‘raggedy’ court.
“Basketball City was in awful, awful condition, from the stands to the matting that we use to play on. A lot of the boards in the stands were either dry rotted, had termites or were badly weathered. What we have done to speed up the process is get persons within the basketball fraternity to help with the work. You have to applaud these guys because they are not getting paid and they come here after working at their jobs all day and work till 11 maybe 12 at nights,” Phillip said.
He said that they had again run out of materials and but were getting assistance from corporate companies such as Digicel and TDC. He said they were working ferverently so that the league could open for the upcoming holiday weekend but things were looking ‘bleak’.
“We were trying hard to get everything done so that the league could open on the Labour Day weekend but the stadium still has not been fully renovated. We need an environment where not only our players but our fans too can be comfortable. That’s our main goal and we are working overtime to achieve that,’ he commented.
Phillip said that ideally, the committee would like to have the facility covered to prevent weathering and game cancellations due to rain.
“Covering the facility would have to be a government decision because we certainly don’t have that kind of money. We spoke to the minister of sports and he explained that they are concentrating on the track and filed facilities for next year’s CARIFTA games. So they are trying to deal with those things first before they can sort us out but he did assure us that it was on his plate for next year,” he commented.
Phillip asked that fans be patient and promised that all the work was in an effort to provide a better sporting experience for everyone. He said that every effort was being made to start the league soon because he knew that teams and fans were anxiously anticipating some exciting basketball action.