Gymnasium back in business

Eighteen months after the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium was closed for repairs, it is open for business once again.

Although it was utilized during the just ended 13th Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA XIII), it was officially opened yesterday at a handing over ceremony that followed the $19 million renovation done by Chinese firm Shanxi Construction Engineering (Group) Corp with the assistance of locals and students from the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic.

Minister of Culture Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley, speaking at the ceremony that was also attended by Chinese Ambassador to Barbados Wang Ke, noted that the facility now sports a multi-purpose floor which meets international standards; new electrical, lighting, surveillance, audio and air conditioning systems; and repairs to the roof and balcony. A solar photovoltaic system will also be installed in the coming days.

“Certain challenges were faced, but the graciousness and patience of Ambassador Wang Ke helped all parties to quickly solve any emerging challenges when they arose,” Lashley said. “She assured us that we would have the facilities for CARIFESTA XIII and indeed she has delivered.”

Last Saturday, the gymnasium welcomed its first guests since the renovations when patrons attended a CARIFESTA event – Caribbean Comedy Explosion.

Barbados’ only living National Hero Sir Garfield Sobers, after whom the sports complex was named in October 1990, was present at the handing over ceremony yesterday and said he felt honoured that the facility would still bear his name.

Addressing him directly, Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Wayne Simmons said: “Sir, we are honoured to have you with us and we thank you for your continued support and counsel in sports development in Barbados.”

Sir Garry was impressed by the improvements made to the gymnasium.

“The work that has gone into this refurbishing that has taken place

. . . is absolutely fantastic. I want to congratulate and thank the Chinese government and the Government of Barbados for uplifting this facility and bringing it back to what it was,” he said.

Minister Lashley thanked Shanxi Construction Engineering Group, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Customs and Excise Department and the Government of Barbados for collaborating to ensure the renovations were completed before schedule.

One Response to Gymnasium back in business

  1. Rene Gade
    Rene Gade August 30, 2017 at 4:50 pm

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    Reply

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