Ballantyne had the benefit of being the Head Teacher of the CW Prescod School from where he could easily monitor the field’s usage during the school week. On weekends Ballantyne would ensure that he was around to at least spend some time in the monitoring exercise.
Ballantyne’s experiences as the man in charge of the Grammar School Playing Field were not an easy one.
Ballantyne introduced a rotation concept in an effort to safeguard the playing facility to the benefit of all stakeholders. By this method he would guarantee that there was some respite that allowed the facility to recover and escape the damage that comes with abuse.
Getting agreement especially from those who would relish every opportunity to ‘break a sweat’ on the field, regardless of the weather conditions, did not come easy. Ballantyne nonetheless prevailed to a large extent.
The result was that the Grammar School Playing Field has been well managed and better maintained than many others around the country. Ballantyne was not interested in kudos but rather the provision of a good sports facility that cost the people of this country several thousand dollars.
For some time the playing fields across the country have been seen by the various political parties as idea for huddling their supporters during their election campaigns. This has itself been a bone of contention but has been allowed to all contesting parties.
In the political campaigns of 2000/1, this columnist, on another forum, commended the ULP and particularly Julian Francis, for the way in which the organisation sought to protect the playing facilities and the eagerness with which they were cleaned the day following their usage.
This time around however there are two disgusting examples of how things ought not to be done – the Sion Hill and Grammar School Playing Fields. The reason is simple, in both instances the playing fields have been significantly damaged by the ULP.
The weather conditions at the time of their usage, Sunday 6 and 13 November respectively, clearly did not favour their usage for such an occasion.
The fact that Sion Hill took place first and the evidence was there for all to observe should have meant that consideration be given to seeking an alternative venue to the Grammar School Playing Field for the mega launch on 13 November.
After seeing the devastating effects of the rally to launch Julian Francis, the ULP should have understood the negative impact any further rallies on playing fields would have in this season.