Five months after its erectionÂ at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, Gary Hunt, has finallyÂ bowed to public opinion, conceding that theÂ $2 million flagÂ was a graveÂ error.
In anÂ address to the nation last night, which focused largely on the accomplishments of his ministry, Hunt admittedÂ thatÂ while the idea of the flag was noble, it wentÂ all wrong ’inÂ its implementation’. Furthermore, he gave an undertaking to the country that never wouldÂ this happen again.
’My fellow citizens, although the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs continues to make great strides and has enjoyed considerable success, we have not always got it right. There have been a few missteps along the way and one of these has been the construction of a national flag at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. The proposal to erect a national symbol at a facility that bears the name of our only Olympic gold medallist was a noble one but there were errors in its implementation,’ Hunt said.
’We have heard the public’s concerns and have acted appropriately. I have since directed the Sports Company to adjust its systems and policies to ensure that nothing like this occurs in the future. A national flag should never become the source of conflict and controversy and I wish to assure the national community that it will not happen again.’
ThisÂ isÂ a majorÂ turnaround for Hunt, who, at a press conference held with senior members of the Sports Company in September last year, stoutly defended the decision to erect the flag.Â He said thenÂ that he had received tremendous support on his Facebook on the issue.Â
But in reality, the flag has never gone down well with the population and theÂ matterÂ has continued to provoke criticism and has even been the subject of negative comments in calypso.
Hunt’s shift in position also comes amidst a growing sense of unease within the PNM, having regard to what has transpired within the Opposition UNC and the emergence of Kamla Persad-Bissessar as a bright new star in the political firmament.
In his address, Hunt saidÂ it wasÂ clear that the country wasÂ on the verge of a golden era of sport in Trinidad and Tobago.
’The many successes that we have enjoyed in the last two years are just the tip of the iceberg and the best is yet to come,’ he said.
He said the ministry recently finalised a comprehensive and systematic plan for the future development of sport entitled ’The Way - Pathways to Sporting Excellence’.
’I am confident that this new plan will take Trinidad and Tobago to the highest levels of international sporting glory,’ he added.
Hunt announced that the Sports Commission would be established soon and thatÂ the ’highly successful Elite Athlete Assistance Programme’ would be expanded ’to include an even larger base of talented citizens’.
In terms of youth development, Hunt saidÂ Government intends to implement 48 more sustainable community youth programmes throughout the country this year.
Saying, however, that Government recognises ’that more work needs to be done’, Hunt said, ’I wish to assure the national community that we shall not shirk this responsibility. Working together with communities, youth groups, schools, as well as our national sporting organisations, I have no doubt that we will scale even greater heights in the months and years ahead.’
Gary Isaac Hunt now realise that?
Wa really happen is that some PNM syco teef half of that money and dey fock well know who it is.
He should push ah flag in the Colombian oman who threaten we here.