THE NEXT two years for the new Independence Park Limited (IPL) board of directors will be consumed by one objective, according to chairman Honourable Mike Fennell – closing the deal on the National Stadium renovation project which has seen constant delays.

Sports Minister Olivia Grange announced the new IPL board of directors yesterday which sees only one change from last term, the addition of Lieutenant Colonel Eldon Morgan, with the departure of Lieutenant Colonel Dameon Creary.

The renovation of the National Stadium has had delays in getting green-lit, with Grange recently stating in an interview with The Gleaner on January 26 that Finance Minister Nigel Clarke has tasked her with identifying someone who would be able to take the project forward.

Fennell has made it the top priority of the board to clear all remaining hurdles.

“We have completed our process of deciding what needs to be done. We have had expertise going through what needs to be done in terms of modernising the facilities and repairing some of those things that are suffering from age. We feel that we have not been able to get going yet and that is what Minister (Grange) is saying she is hoping not to encounter further delays.”

It is a project that has been in the works since 2019 when Apec Consultants conducted research on behalf of the Government with approximately US$76 million (J$11.6 billion) projected to be spent on the project, which is being done under the Jamaica 60 Legacy Programme.

Fennell said delays in the project will not only affect Jamaica’s ability to host international events in the near future, but also to be able to host events nationally up to international standards.

“Now from a sports scenario, we want to be able to host international events but there are other national meets that have to be addressed as well. So we actually want to get going. Delays will prevent us, not only from international events, but we will run into trouble hosting national events that have to be run on international standards,” Fennell said.

Those international events include major athletics championship events.

World Athletics President Lord Sebastian Coe said any bids for Jamaica to host a major international championship would be dependent on the completion of the project.

From the Jamaica Gleaner