Some residents of Barrouallie have criticised the state of their playground following two incidents of injury to children by broken piece of metal from the playground set.
And, some of them would like to see the facility revert to being a playing field.
On November 13 and November 18, Dequari Fraser and Simlet Pierre respectively, were injured on the playground located at Bamboo Square, Barrouallie.
The caretakers of these boys spoke with SEARCHLIGHT about their frustration over the deplorable state of the playground and said the park was better off as a playing field.
The playground, a donation of the Mary A. Tidlund Foundation of Canada, was handed over on January 21, 2011.
Almost 13 years later it can now be described as a ‘playhouse of destruction’.
Dequari’s mother, Janice Griffith told SEARCHLIGHT that the facility shouldn’t even have been a playground in the first place pointing out that the field was used for football and cricket and “That was when Barrouallie was Barrouallie.”
Other residents also shared her sentiments reminiscing how alive the town was before the playing field was turned into a “graveyard.”
Terrison Marshall argued that “The best set of footballers come out of Barrouallie and now you have to go around to Keartons to play football…”
He expressed disappointment over a toilet facility that was placed in the field but was never used and joked that the government removed trees from the playing field only to replant new ones for the playground.
Former captain of the Barrouallie Football team, Dorren Hamlet, a product of Barrouallie football, told SEARCHLIGHT what football was like in his time, and blamed the placement of the playground for stopping a lot of guys from playing the game.
“Nobody is going to come from work, tired to go round there (Keartons) to come with those youngsters. This was the football field that grew most of the good footballers even before my time.”
He said the playground is not a bad thing as there are children who still go on the park and play football; even when the older ones are on the park, they come off the swings and join them.
Hamlet also said that sports contributed to a reduction in crime and takes people off of the road to engage in activities that benefit them.
Samuel “Slim” Caesar referred to Alan Barbour, Lance John and Vibert Bute, among others, when naming some of the biggest players in the town.
“I believe if it was round here, it would have been better because ‘round here is the town. When the older set of people who used to leave their home and come by the roadside, sit down on their chair and watch football and cricket…They won’t want to go over Keartons, they would say over there is too far to go.”
While some believe that the playground killed football in Barrouallie, others begged to differ.
Kenneth “Arwees” Johnson posed the question, “The Barrouallie Secondary was moved from Reversion Hill to Peter’s Hope, did that kill education?” He said that it’s the mindset of the people, and it’s about them knowing what they want from society.
Marshall countered, “yes” pointing out that though the location may be more accommodating, the school was moved from walking distance for most Barrouallie residents to the end of Barrouallie, an area where students struggle with transportation to and from school; some walk and end up being late.
He also argued that when the Barrouallie Police Station was moved from the Bamboo Square area where the playground is located to Peter’s Hope, that killed respect among the children who use the playground because the police station is no longer there for the officers to help keep them in check.
It was argued that the decision to relocate the playing field was partly influenced by the damage caused to the windows of the homes of residents during training sessions and matches.
“Those boys [tend to] damage the windows. We have a window broken upstairs damaged from playing cricket,” said Anthony Da Silva.
Though he and his sister Suzette, enjoyed the way football was in the earlier days, they both think that a playground is good for the children and would rather have the football field in Keartons away from their windows.
Dequari Fraser and Simlet Pierre are in agreement with those who want the playground to be reconverted to a playing field; and if that may be too much to ask, the injured youngsters hope to see it renovated.
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