Thursday, October 04, 2012 – The long awaited redevelopment of the Marchand Grounds – the dream of Mr Arnold Clouden, the late Mindoo Philip, Ignatius Cadet, the Mauricette brothers, Rupert Brandford and many other sporting greats is finally coming on stream.
Known at one time as the Mecca of football in Castries, the Marchand Grounds as of late is in a deplorable condition only fitting for grazing cattle.
Speaking at the official launch of the Marchand Grounds Redevelopment Project on Tuesday October 2nd , 2012 the Minister for Youth Development and Sports Honourable Sean Edwards said the project will help raise the profile of sports in Saint Lucia.
He called on the community to ensure the redeveloped facility is properly managed to provide maximum benefit to all residents.
“The renovation of the Marchand Grounds will provide the necessary boost to Marchand and environs and its sports men and women in particular will have a lot to be pleased about. I am eagerly looking forward to the return of the Marchand community as a sporting mecca in Saint Lucia. The re-emergence of the Marchand community as a sporting powerhouse will serve as a catalyst to boost sports in the Castries basin and in Saint Lucia in general. As the saying goes, if Castries is strong then Saint Lucia is strong”.
The redevelopment will be executed with oversight from the Saint Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF) which contributed EC$200,000.
It will entail the resurfacing of the field and construction of proper drainage in the first phase which is expected to be well advanced by Christmas.
Chairman of the SSDF Earnest Augier says the project is a gift back to the community for its sterling contribution to national development.
“It is just sad to see that such a pillar in the sporting and cultural development of this country was allowed to deteriorate to such a state, however one has to appreciate the tenacity and determination of a gentleman called Philip Pierre who I must say hounded the SSDF to ensure that we restore this ground to something befitting of a facility which has really given us the “creame de la creame” (best of the best) in the sporting arena in this country.”
In welcoming the start of the project the Parliamentary Representative Honourable Philip J Pierre says the redevelopment of Marchand Grounds is key to the holistic development of Castries East.
He also took strong objection to the stigmatisation of the area which he says is well deserving of a world class sporting facility.
“The people of Castries East, the majority of whom are hard-working, conscientious people who want betterment for themselves and their family and as a government we have to ensure that these people are taken care of so I take strong objection to the stigmatisation of my constituency”.
The redevelopment of the Marchand Grounds forms part of Government’s social development mandate.
Minister for Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment Honourable Harold Dalson expressed hope that the project will aid in addressing poverty and other social ills confronting the community.
“Marchand is by no means an affluent area and if we as a Ministry of Social Transformation are serious about our mandate, we have to take care of these vulnerable areas and that is why it gives me such pride to be associated to this project”.
By November 10th , 2012 contractors expect to have the new surface laid and construction of drainage works completed.
The new state of the art Marchand Grounds is expected to bring smiles to the faces of both past and present sports men and women in addition to grooming the country’s next best sporting stars.