By LEANDRA ROLLE
WORKS and Public Services Minister Alfred Sears revealed yesterday that the Government had approved funding for the resumption of construction work at the Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium.
Speaking in the House of Assembly yesterday, Mr Sears told MPs he had recently been informed that around $5 million had been transferred to the contractor for the project.
He made the remarks as St Anne MP Adrian White praised the work done on the stadium by the former administration when contributing to the mid-year budget debate.
However, Mr Sears disputed Mr White’s comments yesterday, insisting little progress had been made on the project under the Minnis administration.
Mr Sears said: ‘The honorable member would be well aware that for essentially four years, the Andre Rogers baseball stadium that you just referred to, $24 million would have been invested on the ground and over the four last few years it has essentially stalled, but I am pleased to report, Sir, that Cabinet has just approved the funding and I have just received notification today, actually within the hour, from the entrepreneur that he is now receiving $5 million which will allow him to move forward.”
This prompted a response from Marco City MP Michael Pintard, who told parliamentarians that Mr Sears’ claims were simply not true.
The Free National Movement leader said the Minnis administration not only did work on the project, but also resolved several “outstanding issues” left in place by the Christie administration.
“Sir, the hon. member for Fort Charlotte spoke on this matter some time ago and what he omitted to say, and I correct it on the record of this House without objection on his part, and that’ is that the cost escalation for the stadium happened under the Liberal Progressive Party before 2017,” Mr Pintard told the House of Assembly.
“So the figure he referred to and the balloon figure resulting from some of the omissions in the design happened again before 2017. It is not true that for four and a half years nothing happened with the stadium.
“Even what he said is an amendment to what he originally said was not good enough. had not been resolved by the PLP and it was brought forward in the years leading up to, the two years in particular, leading up to the election and so we have present, the most recent Minister of Youth, Sports and culture that can expose these things that have been done, but it’s wrong to keep coming here and saying nothing has been done in four and a half years because it’s not factual.
However, Mr Sears hit back and said Mr Pintard misunderstood what he originally said.
“Marco City contradicted St Anne’s saying work had been done, but he said the $24m was on the ground and his allegation was that there were some things under the previous PLP. I never said nothing had been done in the past four years. I said very little had been done,” Sears added.
Construction of the stadium began in September 2016 and was due to finish in November 2017, Sears said in January.
However, he said the project had been significantly delayed and impacted by a number of issues, including an escalating cost of materials, equipment and labor due to the transition between administrations.
The Minister of Public Works also revealed earlier this year that more than $31 million will be needed to complete the Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium.