The Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Iram Lewis and other delegates out of New Providence, which included the Director of Sports in that ministry, Tim Munnings, recently spent time on the island surveying the Grand Bahama Sports Complex.
The team, along with members of the Grand Bahama-based office assessed the current state of the Complex and upon their inspection with Assistant Facilities Manager Kem Stuart, suggestions and ideas were exchanged.
In regards to the softball field, Stuart shared that the team is in the process getting the field in playing condition. As for the track, the team assessed the renovations that were done through the government program in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, as well the necessary repairs that would be necessary for the upkeep of that facility.
“With softball we’re in the process of getting the field in playing condition for this year. I don’t believe they have gotten permission to play as yet, but in the event, they are able to play, we want to be up and ready and able to have the field ready for them," said Stuart.
He also noted that there is not much to do in the way of upgrading the field. However, the infield is in need of cleaning, while some electrical work is needed, particularly with the scoreboard.
“It’s not so much upgrading the field, but the infield needs a lot of work to be done. As far as the scoreboard is concerned, we’re not in the position right now to say we will have a new scoreboard. But all of the cosmetic repairs that need to be done, we’ll see that it is done prior to the start date.”
There is a full-grown desire for sports to resume on the island. Director Munnings shared that approvals for certain sports would be granted once requests are given to the ministry. While some sporting events have transpired in the past with strict health and safety protocols in place, Munnings understood the desire for softball competition to resume.
While he could not give a definitive timeline, he did outline the process of associations seeking approval.
“We at the ministry work closely with the federations, and the softball federation. They’re currently preparing their protocols and once we get them, we would pass them along to the Ministry of Health and the Competent Authority (Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis), who do their technical analysis of the protocols in place.
“If they are satisfied, then they will issue an all-clear sign for that particular sport to resume their activities. As for this facility itself, we think it is in quite good condition cosmetically but some structural work needs to be done.
“We understand the lighting needs some attention, as well as the scoreboard. All of this impact how a game is played and the extent it can be played. We’re going to ask people for quotes on what is needed to bring the area up to a standard where games, at least, can be played in the day time.
“We know the athletes and players are all ready to get started and we want to do all that we can and the Minister is pushing us to see how best we can complete our assessment. So, when it is time for a budget analysis, people around the table can know exactly what is needed to put into the facilities.”
Munnings concluded that there is the desire to eventually add some shading for the spectators’ area at the complex, among other additions.