Insports thanks Minister for ‘swift and decisive action’
THE Institute of Sports (INSPORTS), through its administrative director, Ian Andrews, is expressing gratitude to the Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, for her speedy intervention in dealing with faulty electrical wiring said to have caused a fire at the agency on Monday.
A release from the national sports agency, which was signed by Andrews, read: "The Hon Minister has ordered the closure of the National Arena to facilitate the much-needed repairs to the electrical system. The Agency (Insports) has communicated to her office its greatest appreciation for her swift and decisive action in addressing this matter, which has been plaguing the Agency since 2014. Her ruling on this matter is commendable as requests made to the previous board proved futile."
He continued: "The day-to-day operations of the Agency are not adversely impacted by these circumstances, and as such, all sports development programmes in both urban and rural Jamaica will continue at the primary and community levels. Staff members will be informed of the location of the administrative offices to be used in the interim."
Meanwhile, Major Desmon Brown, Independence Park Limited (IPL) general manager, continues to face the heat for comments he made in the media, denying any knowledge of the faulty electrical wiring at the National Arena.
However, correspondence acquired by The Gleaner proved contrary and shows Brown expressing concerns over funds to fix the problem. He also noted that Insports owed IPL money and payment of a portion would have enabled repairs.
The correspondence shows administrative director Ian Andrews making a request to Independent Park Limited to correct the matter of faulty wiring two years ago, after a similar fire incident had taken place.
According to the correspondence, Brown received the notice and responded to Andrews on October 23, 2014.
"IPL has received quotations to repair the electrical system to the Insports offices that were damaged by a fire earlier this year (2014). The quotes are for $334,983-67, $335,484-61, and $432,586-45. IPL does not have the funds available to effect repairs. However, the office space is urgently (in) need by INSPORTS. Please advise how to proceed," the email read.
He then followed that up with another email to then Permanent Secretary Onika Miller three days later, claiming that the institute owed IPL over $4 million and that Insports needed to pay at least $2 million in order for them to effect repairs.
"We have advised INSPORTS that despite the fact that the first call on collections is to pay IPL's outstanding debts (especially utilities and security), if they pay IPL $2 million out of the $4.45 million owed to IPL, IPL will use funds from this payment to effect the electrical works required at the INSPORTS office. We are awaiting a response from Ian Andrews re our proposal," it read.
In response, Miller said: "I refer to your email and recommend in the circumstance that you and your board chairman meet urgently with Mr Andrews and INSPORTS' chairman to to discuss an amicable resolution of this matter."