first_imgBy Joe ChapmanNOW that Member of Parliament for Region 10 (Upper Demerara/Berbice) Jermaine Figueira has announced Tuesday evening that the Bayroc Community Centre ground on the western side of Linden has been identified as the venue for the construction of the internationally recognised 400m synthetic track, to be funded by Government at a cost of $210M, will be laid, there seems to be some uneasiness that due consideration was not given with regard to the history of the Mackenzie Sports Club (MSC) facility.Looking at this, one wonders if there will be enough cash to fund other relevant basic additional features that are necessary when such an international track is put down on the west bank of Linden.Officials of the MSC are somewhat shocked about this declaration by Mr Figueira since sources close to the MSC had said earlier this week that talks with Director of Sport Christopher Jones and Guyana Football Federation (GFF) president Wayne Forde seemed to point to the Bayroc Community Centre actually being given the go-ahead to have the FIFA GOAL Project placed there, and the MSC to accommodate the 400m rubberised track.It may be recalled that after the first consultation on this project was held recently at the Linden Enterprise Network (LEN) Macaw Boardroom in Mackenzie which was attended by Director of Sport Christopher Jones and hosted by Mayor of Linden Carwyn Holland and MP Jermaine Figueira, there were discussions on which of the two venues will be selected.This was generated after Minister Responsible for Sport Ms Nicolette Henry announced that government was placing $210M for the construction of synthetic tracks in Regions 2, 4, 6, 7 and 10. Naturally, the MSC was the first option. But soon after, reports surfaced that the MSC ground could not adequately accommodate an internationally acceptable rubberised track.After the Director of Sport cited some concerns relating to current space at the MSC ground seemingly not having the capacity to house this track, it was thought that another venue be sought in Linden; and the Bayroc Community Centre ground immediately came into the picture.However, the MSC Committee of Management quickly addressed that anxiety and the Chinese bauxite firm operating in Linden, BOSAI Minerals Group (Guyana) Inc, had their surveyors and engineering team survey the entire MSC Complex and produce a drawing showing what needs to be done to have that 400m track laid at the traditional Mecca for sports at the MSC venue.It must be noted that years ago the MSC ground did have a 400m track but later it was reduced to 352m and now 300m.Then the existing northern fence was brought in to reduce the space thus the original track was reduced. But the history of sport in Linden would be better served should the MSC venue be allowed once again to have this international synthetic 400m track due to its historical significance, and not become another Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC), once the envy of international cricket ground but now just another venue without international importance.That is where the institution of the MSC comes into serious contention.The fact is that this is where the bauxite industry started its donation for sport development to this community with the ground and attendant stands and fencing. Through the Linden bauxite operations, several international meets were held dating back to the early 1960s. Countries such as Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Barbados, Grenada and Suriname all sent athletes to compete.The MSC was the venue for international coaches also and in the early 1970s, through the bauxite industry Mr John Martins, then Fisk University athletics coach out of the United States, did a coaching stint at the MSC ground.After that visit, at least two Lindeners, middle-distance athlete and long-jumper Aubrey ‘Skinny’ Wilson and national sprint champion Roxanne Sills gained scholarships to study in the United States of America.Not forgetting it was at the MSC ground that cricket icons like the game’s greatest all-rounder Sir Garry Sobers, most successful captain Clive Lloyd, Lance Gibbs and Basil Butcher all came and had coaching stints.Then came the bauxite games namely GUYBAU, GUYMINE, LINMINE Games which became the biggest sports attraction in Guyana with national prominence, when bauxite was ‘king’; and now succeeded by the annual Boyce and Jefford Classic which is stationed at this venue for the past seven years.Simply put, the preservation of the MSC and its historical significance should be protected for posterity. It is this venue which has produced over the past six decades such male stars like the Mining Town’s first National male sprint champion in the mid-1960s, Leyland ‘Flash’ Blair, and after that came all-round athlete Aubrey ‘Skinny’ Wilson, whose baton as undisputed sprint king was taken by the late Elton Jefford, National field athlete Noel Perry and long-jumper Mark Mason who also won a scholarship to study in the United States.Desmond Hector also rose to stardom primarily from training there to becoming an Olympian.Today there are national champions in youngsters like Compton Caesar and Daniel Williams who have continued to place Linden prominently in Guyana’s track and field history.On the distaff side, there were the female stars, who emerged from the school system to national and international acclaim.It all began with the likes of national sprinters Paula Haynes, Lorraine Jordan and Roxanne Sills through to Juliet ‘Pepper Fredericks then field athlete Nyota Peters and middle-distance star Marian Burnette, who won an athletic scholarship and eventually went to Lousiana State in the USA.Of course we saw Cassie George of recent vintage and now the bright prospect in teenager Chantoba Bright. That really spells out the reason for Linden to have its first synthetic track, sooner, rather than later.No need to mention the performances by the national cyclists who graced the MSC ground for international meets including two of Guyana’s greatest – Neville Hunte and Joelyn Joseph, along with Vibert Rose and Ignatius Titus.It is hoped that whatever decision is taken will not be one that anyone would have to regret in the future, knowing that Government in the first instance made it clear that they are only ready to put funds to simply have an international 400m track in Linden.last_img