Utilities debt at Daren Sammy Cricket Ground is a “social cost” we must bear: Belrose

By SNO Staff

Fortuna Belroseb

Culture and Local Government Minister Fortuna Belrose has said that the hundreds of thousands of dollars owed by the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground (DSCG) for utilities is unfortunate but it is a social cost that government has to bear.

The facility’s WASCO bill dated November 14, 2017 showed arrears of $312,316.32. In addition, a $250 reconnection fee and VAT on that fee of $31.25 is also due, since the stadium’s water supply has been cut.

The DSCG owes power company Saint Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) a similar amount for bills which date back three years.

This is not the first time that the facility has been in hot water with utility companies. There was a similar occurrence in 2012. Sports St. Lucia Inc (SSI) the company charged with managing the stadium, could not meet these overheads so the National Lotteries Authority had stepped in and made payments to the utility companies on its behalf.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Belrose said she is sure that efforts will be made to pay the fees.

“The sports facility, to be honest with you, these are social structures that really do not generate the kind of revenue that we would like. Now, I personally as minister of culture I believe if we can get our culture right …We would be able to generate a lot more revenue within the cultural industry and creative industries to provide support to enable the facilities that we use to be better in terms of their finances to pay their bills. But you know when government invests in sports facilities. It’s really a social cost that one has to bear,” she said.

“It’s unfortunate that the bill has been allowed to drag on for so long… but I think that no doubt in my mind that an effort will be made to pay it because this is a social cost that the state most times has to bear and it cannot run away from it,” she stated.

Among its revenue streams, the DSCG earns money from hosting cricket, football and carnival activities and practice sessions for sporting disciplines. Belrose believes that the problem of high arrears is a matter of planning and priorities.

“I think it’s a question of planning and making sure you have the resources …periodically to pay for it. And it’s not the first time that it’s happening, you know… It’s a question of priorities all the time but it’s a public facility and we all appreciate the stresses. There should be a greater effort to ensure that the bills are paid but the reality is, given the limited nature in which they are used …you have those challenges,” she said.

Belrose is a former SSI Chairperson.

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9 comments

  1. Belrose plz tell de people is that all dis madness of outstanding payments started under your leadership as chairman.

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  3. Are you freaking kidding me? Don't the entities who host events there pay to rent the place? What is this money being used for? I am sure the cost to rent the place can be used to pay at least a bill per month. Wtf!? The persons in charge of the maintenance of the facility is fully responsible for this bs. Y'all can't be serious...How long have those bills gone unpaid?

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  5. ALL THAT MONEY IN ARREARS AND YET STILL THEY WERE STILL CONNECTED BUT WHEN THE POOR MAN MISS ONE PAYMENT THEY CUTTING THEIR ASS

    (3)(0)
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  7. The Grand Chessboard

    Fortuna- Why are you hiding the real truth! The truth is that SSI needs to be fired! Look at George Odlum Stadium, they were responsible for the upkeep of that facility. Now I do understand that the revenue generated by George Odlum Stadium was LOW due to its location and lack of high level events. BUT this is unacceptable for a stadium that has hosted billion dollar events such as cricket world cup, CPL, Super league etc etc etc. WTH?

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  9. Has the "Stlucia Stars" paid the money they owe yet? Let them Indians pay the bill after they pay all the people they owe around Rodney Bay!!

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  11. Why rename the grounds? guess its politics all again. The grounds should have been left with the original name and have it run by a board. The board is then responsible for selling the facilities both local, regional and international to host events.

    Let Darren put some money into it now. BS.

    (2)(9)

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