Overgrown grass, dilapidated spectator stands, and the appearance of a venue that has been left to rot best describes the current condition of what was once one of the island’s most popular football venues – Ferdie Neita Sports Complex. Situated in the community of Braeton in Portmore, St Catherine, the multi-sports facility is in dire need of assistance with clear signs that the ground is not being properly maintained. The facility is the responsibility of top-flight title challengers Portmore United, and while the club’s general manager, Clive Marshall, refused to give details about the venue when contacted yesterday, there have been calls for further dialogue and partnerships in order to improve the state of the venue. Portmore United have been playing home fixtures away from their home ground for the last two seasons, adopting Prison Oval in Spanish Town, Wembley Centre of Excellence in Clarendon, and Juici Park, also in Clarendon, as their home venues over the period. Marshall ignored the topic when contacted via telephone yesterday evening, arguing that the club’s focus at this point is on their local and regional football ambitions. “It is not necessary to talk about the ground now. We are approaching the end of the season and are in the Premier League semi-final and CFU (Caribbean Football Union) second-round competition. We should talk about those things, not a ground. We must put things into perspective,” said Marshall, whose team still uses the Ferdie Neita field as a training ground in preparation for competitive games. Councillor for the Braeton Division, Anthony Wint, said that the Portmore Municipality has, in the past, assisted the club in certain areas where the upkeep of the facility is concerned and that they will be looking to play a part in lifting the ground out of its current state. “Through the municipality, we used to assist with water. We are in dialogue with the Portmore management in order to offer further assistance,” Wint said. Vassell Walker, who acted as caretaker in the past, said that he wants to see the park restored to its former glory. “We want to see it come back. When the park was been used for competitions, it was the best thing in Portmore. We want it to be ready as we are willing to work,” Walker said. Walker noted that former caretaker Junior Cooper, who managed the grounds from in the late 1980s, died a few years ago, and pointed out that he has since decided to take care of the park. “When Mr Cooper got blind, I was his assistant. Since he died some five years ago, I took charge. But since Portmore stop playing matches here, the field is not properly maintained,” Walker informed. “The field is idle as no competition is taking place there.” The 3,000-capacity venue was a prime location for football games in St Catherine and has hosted games at the local and international levels. NEEDS TO BE RESTORED
Dear Editor,Shortly after the 2016 US Presidential elections I wrote about “startling rise in the unscrupulous manipulation of people’s emotions by very savvy media operators”. In 2017, fake news was named phrase of the year, since then we have seen reports of the extent to which social media users were manipulated via the ‘Russian Collusion’ investigation. Fast forward to Guyana 2019 and “fake news” poses more grave a threat to our democracy than “rounded up half men”.If for example you believe that 26 members of the National Assembly currently hold dual citizenship, you are a victim of fake news, the true number is 7; if you shared news that our President had lost his voice due to cancer of the throat, you too were a victim. Fake news is now being used in an attempt to influence the People’s Progressive Party’s choice of Presidential candidate; an online poll purporting to offer choices for candidate was examined by an IT expert and found to have set percentages built into the software. The orchestrated attack on the academic credentials of former Housing Minister Irfaan Ali began with innocuous questions about his BSc, MSc and PhD certification. Ali responded by releasing an abundance of academic certifications and pledged to release his transcripts upon receipt but the fake news mill has grist and will continue to grind regardless of evidence.Irfan Ali’s stellar performance as Minister of Housing, his delivery of countless massive housing schemes and his guidance which saw over 10,000 housing units being constructed by developers, home owners and Government, is not the subject of discussion. Fake news aims to distract and divert conversations about issues that really matter. Discuss and compare Irfan Ali’s record with the less than 3 houses in 3.5 years of the APNU+AFC Administration! The fake news machine sought to build a straw man and bludgeon him; fortunately a Saints boy is never without a solid defence, in Irfan Ali’s case, the solid house walls that house thousands, all of whom benefited from his astute management of the Ministry of Housing.In the silly season of Elections, much more fake news will be generated, media operators will seek to create divisions within parties, society and even families. The racist fringe elements will try to tell you this election is about ‘race’, I urge all Guyanese to examine the records and issues facing our nation, separate fact from fake news, make an effort to examine the source of your news. A trusted source is our only defence against the enemies of our nation both outside and within. A reminder from Matthew 12:22 “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand”.Respectfully,Robin Singh
APTN National NewsPeople from Lake St. Martin First Nation have been displaced for more than three years since the 2011 flood in Manitoba.Deals have come and gone between the chief and council, the Manitoba government and Ottawa to compensate and relocate the community.Now there is some hope the latest signed offer on the table will be the final one.Chief Adrian Sinclair has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Manitoba and Ottawa that would see the community received a settlement package for losing their homes.The deal is estimated to range between $250 million to $300 million and will be split by Manitoba and Ottawa.