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No fees yet for public’s use of A.O. Shirley Grounds- Eustace C. Freeman

- said discussions still ongoing; however, a fee will be necessary for the upkeep of facility
Some members of the public, particularly walkers and joggers, have been complaining that they have been asked to pay $30.00 to use the A. Shirley Grounds, and that the gates to the grounds have been padlocked, making the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex the only way to access the grounds. Photo: VINO/File
Director of Recreation Trust Mr Eustace C. Freeman said no fees are being collected for the use of the A. O. Shirley Recreation Grounds at the moment; however, this is being discussed for implementation and no amount has been arrived at. Photo: VINO/File
Director of Recreation Trust Mr Eustace C. Freeman said no fees are being collected for the use of the A. O. Shirley Recreation Grounds at the moment; however, this is being discussed for implementation and no amount has been arrived at. Photo: VINO/File
Persons wishing to access A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds now have to do so through the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex. Photo: VINO/File
Persons wishing to access A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds now have to do so through the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Some members of the public, particularly walkers and joggers, have been complaining that they have been asked to pay $30.00 per month to use the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds, and that the gates to the grounds have been padlocked, making the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex the only way to access the facility.

One person who spoke to this news site on condition of anonymity said it was not fair for the members of the public to be asked to pay a fee when they already pay taxes that are supposed to go towards such a public facility. According to them, persons have favoured the use of the Mondo track for walking and jogging to avoid the dangerous traffic on the roadways.

‘We hope to implement fees in future’- ‘Boss’ Freeman

Virgin Islands News Online spoke to the Director of the Recreation Trust, Mr Eustace C. Freeman aka ‘Boss’, who said the reports are not entirely accurate.

Mr Freeman said no fees are being collected at the moment; however, this is being discussed for implementation and no amount has been arrived at.

Further, he said the restricting of access to the grounds only via the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex is for safety purposes.

“In efforts to be able to raise the standards of facilities and keep them properly maintained, it is a known practice throughout the world that individuals are expected to pay a fee to utilise the facilities.

Of course, everybody doesn’t fall in the same category and class as it pertains to users. There are provisions that we definitely will look at in terms of seniors, government officials, schools etcetera. It is not a one size fits all but it (a fee) is something that is being explored from my personal self, as a director of the Recreation Trust; but until that is implemented fully, further discussions need to be held with the Ministry of Education and Youth Affairs.”

General public to be consulted

Mr Freeman said it was since in 2021 that the issue was brought up with local sporting organisations so they are aware of plans; however, the general public is yet to be consulted.

“And therefore, we have not implemented what we hope to implement in the future,” Mr Freeman stated, adding that the Recreation Trust is not in the business of profit and any fees collected will go towards having the facilities well maintained and safe for the public’s use.

He said he understands there is a cultural shift that needs to happen for persons to accept changes, but there will be a conversation with the general public to seek the best way forward.

“If we are truly serious about sports and sports development, we need to understand that facilities play an integral role in achieving elite athletes such as Kyron McMaster and Chantel Malone. We have need to have good facilities that are held to a standard.”

Single access to grounds a ‘safety issue’

Regarding the single entrance to A.O. Shirley Grounds, Mr Freeman said it’s a safety issue.

“We have had situations as early as last year where at least two females were attacked during walking sessions at the facilities.”

Mr Freeman continued that a request has been made for the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) to do more patrol in that area; however, additional measures have been taken.

“What we are trying to do is to control who comes in and who goes out of the facility…so it is a whole mechanism that is being put in place to guarantee safety for users of the facility. I would go a step further in saying it is well thought through.”

The Recreation Trust Director said some of the gates at the ground could be used as an exit in any event of an emergency.

35 Responses to “No fees yet for public’s use of A.O. Shirley Grounds- Eustace C. Freeman”

  • bvi (16/11/2022, 16:25) Like (18) Dislike (17) Reply
    Everything here makes sense to me, keep up the good work Mr Freeman
  • Sad (16/11/2022, 16:44) Like (31) Dislike (14) Reply
    Recreation is part of community building. It is funded by taxes. To put a fee on that is outrageous.
  • This can't be Boss (16/11/2022, 16:50) Like (18) Dislike (9) Reply
    Now boss has power he acting like the politicians he always criticizing. . "Oppressive and without compassion". Check yourself Boss, stop talking about the rest of the world as an excuse to oppress. This is the BVI, the Park is like part of our exercise cultural venue... Respect and love your people. Things hard,
    • Wait what (16/11/2022, 17:47) Like (13) Dislike (25) Reply
      You do realize there are many park, you can access to exercise? BVI people want everything for free from the Government and it killing this soon to be poor place.
      • What? (16/11/2022, 19:41) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
        What other park are you talking about?
        • Wait what (17/11/2022, 13:28) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
          Queen Elizabeth park, Baughers bay Park, festival grounds many areas to walk. It is evident by our thought process we setting up the next generation for failure based on the entitlement mentality.
      • the rock (17/11/2022, 04:38) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        Got a good point, open the gym st the track as part of the psckage deal.Boss!
  • me nah pay (16/11/2022, 17:07) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
    BOSS LIE
    • You nah pay (16/11/2022, 21:25) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      You nah play! We trying to get real world here? You gotta pay to play in a government provided facility. Shocking we still have free trash removal and no charge for sewerage, any self respecting country would have a fee for both of these since they are a plague in the community due to the low class residents here (yes belongers included). Government done spent your tax dollar on their new car so you best get ready to pay to play or think twice about who you been paying to play! Choice coming soon BVI, you gonna vote the continuing low dollar reps or join the “real world”? Step up young BVIslanders, your future is at stake here!
      • Oola (17/11/2022, 04:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        All a we pay taxes that build this facility and pay moy government taxes orkers. You’re t point us go in we pocket each time we step on the track we pay for or us the bushy road to get plough over like dog. Song for the boss
  • Simone (16/11/2022, 17:10) Like (4) Dislike (10) Reply
    It is so refreshing to see a change being proposed, I hope it all works out as intended. I love the initiative
  • justice (16/11/2022, 17:42) Like (4) Dislike (5) Reply
    Hurry up run for office buddy cause your forward thinking is missing in most of today's leaders.
  • asura (16/11/2022, 18:22) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    he lie yes he got push back make decision on his own like a mad man.

    The power went to his head!
  • smh (16/11/2022, 18:42) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    This guy Boss is such a show off. he looking to run for office next time around but he has pissed off too many people in his new job
  • hahah (16/11/2022, 20:37) Like (0) Dislike (13) Reply
    Hahahah boss is a big lie a** b*** your power is at pancake, paradise go and clean your kitchen it nasty health need to go down there
    from doing shit to poor people
  • Mondo (16/11/2022, 21:06) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
    The track should not be used for casual and leisure purposes. It’s an official track and should be used for Track and Field.

    A second track is needed for training and leisure
  • you’ll too cheap (16/11/2022, 21:15) Like (3) Dislike (4) Reply
    you’ll will die of complaining dread. Not one thing wrong with charging $30.00 to used the place. It should have been more. you’ll tola people have a sick Mentality dread
  • lol (16/11/2022, 21:36) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Why do we want everything free in this place. People the facilities has to be maintained. The easiest way out is for it to assist in such processes. My God. Next thing you all will ask Government for Toilet tissue to do, You all know what.
    God knows that some of You all are doing it already.
  • Faithful (16/11/2022, 21:36) Like (13) Dislike (15) Reply
    That's what happens when you put a Bajan and an Antigan in charge of BVI stuff
  • poor poor-people (16/11/2022, 22:36) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    The government looking new ways to raise funds what was squandered
  • Uncle (16/11/2022, 22:47) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    The government passes in excess of one billion dollars every four years. Now you telling me that $30 a person going contribute what? Your efforts should be directed at managing the upkeep of the facility and seeks additional funding where necessary and discontinue that thought that walkers and joggers going finance that facility's maintenance.
  • fullah phu** (16/11/2022, 22:48) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply

    Boss need to sort out heself

  • Dang (17/11/2022, 04:04) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    So he start charging before implentation.
    This issue need the COI. "As the issue of the $30.00 charge is explored from his personal self" he stated.
  • Mel Tot (17/11/2022, 05:59) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    $30 a year will be ok.
  • cash? (17/11/2022, 08:38) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    More money to thief
  • National Stadium (17/11/2022, 11:01) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Nowhere else in the world people can just access a national stadium how they want. Nowhere else in the world, people utilise this type of infrastructure for free, while they themselves making money from it.

    The Trust has no money, but expect to maintain and develop these facilities while the public tears them down.

    Everybody in BVI want everything for free.

    BOSS press on!! You going in the right direction.
  • WHAT!!! (17/11/2022, 11:09) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    No fees "at the moment" ???
  • Lb (17/11/2022, 11:25) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Boss lying. They implemented fees across all facilities! It was not gazettes or approved. The sports associations were not told that the fees are in force either. Some of the fees are ridiculous! What we paying for? No clean bathrooms. No emergency services. No lighting. No security. Most of the fields are dilapidated and bush overgrowing. No a/c. Fields full of pot holes. What are we paying for again, after our tax money already paid for the facilities???
    • @Lb (17/11/2022, 15:08) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      You are actually contradicting yourself! The fact that the facilities are in disrepair currently IS WHY FEES ARE NOW BEING IMPLEMENTED! If you are paying a fee you will take more care of the place and they will have monies available to do necessary upgrades. It's obvious that these moves are an effort to make Recreational Trust a stand-alone entity as much as possible and not having to lean on the Central Government purse for everything. We hate progress and always complaining which is why the BVI cannot get any better.
  • Jack Lalane (17/11/2022, 11:30) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The world is a gym.The road and the beach is still free
  • Counting (17/11/2022, 13:12) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Please make the Policy decision, put in place the procedure and let’s get on with it. This should not take more than a week. Times “waisting” until your decision. Please open the track to community use. Thanks
  • hmmm (17/11/2022, 15:05) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is why no person with an ounce of decency will seek political office in the BVI and we will continue to be stuck with these know-nothing wannabees!!!! How can you expect us to continue running a country where nobody wants to pay for anything but want the best of everything? Everyone is talking about us being taxpayers, what tax are we paying here? Let's be real now! How many truckers, construction workers and people hustling really paying taxes? Our taxes are meager compared to what Government is expected to handle. Nothing is wrong with paying $1 per day to utilize a clean, properly functioning facility!
  • No fee (17/11/2022, 15:56) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    NO FEE
    The government needs to subsidize recreational facilities. Put personnel in place as Wardens (paid staff) and maintain the facilities.
  • Its power (17/11/2022, 22:47) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    You notice that B went to DYAS but because he couldn't get his way they moved him to rec trust where now he is organizing stuff that is supposed to be DY and SPORTS. Rec Trust is there to manage facilities for GOVT. That is it. Work on fixing them all AND then work on charging people. There is a whole board at Rec Trust being paid as well as Bosa AND a facilites manager.
    DYAS are the ones who should be the ones helping sports to fix leagues / after school etc. Rec Trust is there to make sure the toilets are fixed, the lights work, the fence is fixed etc.
    Boss - get the facilites up to standard and stop trying to be mr everything.


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