Caribbean Newsletter: Not opposed

Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

ERECTION OF A MINI-SPORTS STADIUM by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago's Park Committee at George V Park will not be opposed by Queen's Park Cricket Club.

The mini-stadium is to be built on a plot of land across the road, north of Queen's Park C.C., Trinidad's headquarters of International cricket in the territory. The Oval is one of the best-appointed Test venues in the world of cricket and the club has for years been involved in athletics, football, cycling, netball, hockey and boxing at local, regional and international levels.

The club which has produced a long line of Test cricketers, administrators and other officials including selectors of W.I. teams is vested with the authority of appointing the captain of the Trinidad cricket [team] and, all in all, it has made notable contributions to the sport.

It has not however escaped criticism from various sources. It has been accused of high-handedness, and autocratic behaviour. Not all of the strictures have been justifiable.

A report that Government's George V Park Committee has begun plans to erect a mini-stadium touched off a flood of pro-and-con comments from various sections of the community. Most of them came from residents of the elite St. Clair area and surrounding districts. Residents including Queen's Park Club Secretary Sonny Murray, signed a protest petition calling for an abandonment of erection plans and this was followed by a threat to file an injunction blocking the Committee from going ahead with the job.

But strong support for the stadium's erection came from under-privelaged Trinidadians who have been agitating for a National Stadium since 1947.

Ivan Williams Chairman of the Park Committee and his colleagues shrugged off the protests and went ahead with preliminary work on the project. Representatives of foreign track-laying firms turned up in Trinidad with samples of tartan and other types of all-weather track material and Williams told the nation in an island-wide radio-television broadcast that fears of noise pollution and other apprehensions as a result of the siting of the stadium at George V Park were groundless.

Sir Errol Dos Santos President of Queen's Park Club in an official Press release cleared the air on where the club stand on the issue.

He said:

"Prominence has been given to the fact that one of the signatories to the petition opposing the erection of a stadium at George V Park happens to be the Secretary of the club. Both the Secretary and the club want to make it quite clear, as it out to have been to anyone considering the matter fairly, that in signing this petition, the Secretary was acting and purport- to act purely in his own capacity as someone living in the vicinity of the proposed stadium".

"This he was clearly entitled to do without anyone seeking thereby to ascribe to the club or its management any intention of participating in the controversy over the location of the proposed stadium".

St Errol branded as misleading and mischievous, accusations that Queen's Park Club has any interest of its own to serve in the matter of the location of the proposed stadium: He said Q.P.C.C. (" its name implies, is primarily a cricket club") is not involved with rivalry with George V Park.

The Oval ground was the venue of the Trinidad-Santos football during which tear-gas was fired at spectators who filled the ground last September 5 to see world famous soccer star, Pele in action.

It will be the venue for the third and fifth Test matches of this year's Australian cricket series against West Indies. Recent improvements to the accommodation of the ground include three-decker stands — one being named after Sir Errol — which will carry the seating capacity close to 40,000.