‘It’s Disrespect’: Simon Says Treatment of ARG Is Slap In Face To Sporting Fraternity


By Neto Baptiste

Member of Parliament for the St Mary’s South constituency, Kelvin “Shugy” Simonhas described the current state of Antigua Recreation Grounds (ARG) as disrespectful of the venue’s rich cricket history.

Simon, the United Progressive Party (UPP) shadow minister for sport, added that the venue is significant to a number of international cricketers who have made their names here in Antigua and could be used as a tool in the sports tourism industry.

“ARG has the two highest test scores on Brian Lara’s record and that alone should make us invest and keep it up to date that I think it can even be part of our tourism package. We have a lot of tourists coming in from the UK and just letting ARG sit there… They could even have Sir Viv sign autographs there on select days and people would do anything for that experience.

“To me it is a disrespect to ARG’s legacy; It’s generally a disrespect to the sporting fraternity just sitting there run down,” he said.

There was much debate about the deplorable state of the facility, while numerous images and video footage circulated highlighting the ARG’s dilapidated state.

The Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) has leased the facility but has not used the venue since 2020 when the Premier Division was halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Simon also stressed the need for urgent investment in the country’s only track and field facility, the YASCO Sports Complex.

“We’ve done things too carelessly over the years. It’s not okay to just have it there because it’s our lonely track and field facility. So why not upgrade it so that we can even invite other teams to meetings? We could have our own national meetings that we invite teams to, but having them come to a facility like this where there isn’t even a proper dressing room…” he said.

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The sports enthusiast, who takes part in basketball and soccer competitions, said plans to build a sports village would be developed if the UPP took office after January’s elections.

“There is a lot of space that can be developed, especially around the stadium [Sir Viv Stadium] and so on, and we can maybe consider putting in an Olympic Village, which is something that we as the United Progressive Party proposed before the election, that we would build an Olympic Village, so not just athletics, but cycling, swimming and so on. The stadium is already there and there’s a lot of land, a lot of parking and everything doesn’t have to be in the city,” said Simon.

There are committees charged with managing both the ARG and the YASCO Sports Complex. The chairman of the ARG is a former politician Hilroy Humphreys while the YASCO committee is chaired by Cleofoster Harris.

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