The insistence of the ruling Unity labour Party (ULP) on using the Grammar School Playing Field to host its mega launch on Sunday 13 November 2005, has brought with it at least one casualty – Orde Ballantyne.
Ballantyne, who has been the virtual manager of the Grammar Schools Playing Field since the government spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring it up to an acceptable level, has tendered his resignation on a matter of principle.
The Grammar School Playing Field
The Grammar School Playing Field has been the object of much work over the past decade in particular.
The National Lottery, under the then Chairmanship of Mr Williams, spent considerable sums of money upgrading the facility.
The foundation was looked at and reworked and some attempt ate drainage was also undertaken. The grassing was done and bleachers and a surrounding wall were constructed.
Following the completion of the work there was grand ceremony where the Lottery explained the investment that was made.
Lloyd Lewis was placed in charge of the Grammar School Playing Field.
It did not take long for the drainage system to become clogged and once more the facility returned to its former state where as soon as rain fell it became waterlogged.
After the ULP came to office another attempt was made to refurbish the facility. Thousands of dollars were spent in bringing in earth and laying what was deemed appropriate grass for the surface.
Following the completion of the work Orde Ballantyne was given the responsibility for managing the facility.
Managing the Grammar School Playing Field
The Grammar School Playing Field is located in the midst of several major schools that require its use almost daily. The Girls’ High School, The St Vincent Grammar School, the Richmond Hill Government (now the Thomas Saunders Secondary), the CW Prescod Primary and the Kingstown preparatory School surround the facility. The Intermediate High School is merely three minutes away and its students see the Grammar School Playing Field as their lone outdoor facility as much as the schools in the immediate environment.
The number of school children who use the facility each week, Monday through Friday, is extremely high. In addition there are countless others who use the same facility for football training, some more structured than others.
Ian sardine and Andrew Bramble each have their own football schools which compete for the facility with the home-based Frenches and Pastures football teams.
It may be fair to conclude therefore that the Grammar School Playing Field is easily one of the most in demand facilities across St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Management of the facility was and remains to this day a very challenging exercise. This was well known to Lloyd Lewis and it did not take Ballantyne long to recognise this reality. Success in this task would of necessity require the full cooperation and support of the stakeholders. That was not always forthcoming and often meant that harsh decisions had to be taken in the best interest of all.