FORMER FINANCE Minister Audley Shaw is urging the Portia Simpson Miller administration to move decisively and hand over the Trelawny stadium to the University of Technology (UTech) so that the facility can be put to productive use.
Shaw yesterday admitted that the former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration had erred when it refused to enter into a lease arrangement with the tertiary institution.
"I want to explicitly suggest to this government from this forum: don't make the mistake that the previous government made. Get the Trelawny stadium into the hands of the University of Technology immediately, so that we can get it to productive use. That's what we need to do," Shaw told a meeting of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee.
The former finance minister was supporting his colleague Dr Horace Chang, who charged that the stadium was losing money. "Take it off the budget and give it to UTech," he declared.
Chang said the stadium had the potential to become the Caribbean's best sports training facility.
"You get the tourist after that and you make money out of it because athletes from around the world (would) want to train in Bolt's parish," he asserted.
He asked the permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Onika Miller, if the Government had planned to keep the stadium as "a white elephant".
She told the committee that discussions were taking place on how to best reposition the Trelawny stadium.
PM looking into issue
Miller said the prime minister and minister with responsibility for sports, Natalie Neita-Headley, have been looking at the utility of the stadium.
"There are policy discussions under way in respect of not only the sport policy but sport tourism and a committee has recently been established."
She said the Independence Park Limited, the agency which has responsibility for the stadium, would be presenting proposals to the OPM to inform the directions going forward.
The Trelawny stadium was built to host the opening ceremony of the 2007 Cricket World Cup. It has hardly been utilised since and UTech has been seeking to establish its western campus at the site.