Artist rendition of the pavilions to be constructed at the Tabernacle Playing Field. SKNIS Photo.

Rural communities in St. Kitts “will not be left behind” as it relates to the upgrade of sporting grounds around the island, Tom Buchanan, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, said as he addressed an audience of government officials and community residents who gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony at the Tabernacle Playing Field Wednesday for the construction of two multi-million dollar pavilions.

One pavilion will be dedicated to sports-related activities, with lockers and change rooms, as well as bathrooms and areas that can be used for VIP seating. The second will feature a kitchen, dining area, bathrooms and meeting rooms for use by various committees. Both will be two-story pavilions.

“… This facility has the potential to transform the community in very significant and meaningful ways,” Permanent Secretary Buchanan said. “Naturally, they provide the benefit of physical activity, but they also empower our youth and promote higher self-esteem. What’s usually never recognized is that these facilities also improve family ties and parent-child relationships as a result of the leisure time spent with each other at these centres of communities. Additionally, sports venues play the role of social and cultural integration centres, especially for socially deprived groups.”

The upgrade project is part of the Department of Sports’ efforts to decentralize events away from Basseterre to help spur additional economic activity in rural areas that host sporting events, as well as encourage more community-oriented events.

Mr. Buchanan added that the government has been upgrading playfields around the island, particularly in rural areas. This year has seen the construction of a call room at the Kim Collins Athletic Stadium, lighting upgrades at the Warner Park Stadium, as well as the development of a play area and the erection of fences at the Trinity/Boyd’s playing field, construction of a clubhouse and seating at the Challengers playfield.

Work was also done to upgrade the Sandy Point hard court with team rooms, a media room, seating, and bathrooms; refurbishing of the pavilion at St. Peters playing field, and the refurbishing of the pavilion at the James Burnell Harris Matthew Complex in Mansion.