A boy plays with a football at the Nelson Mandela Park in St Clair, on Friday.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has added his voice to the discussion over whether AstroTurf should be considered as part of development options for the Nelson Mandela Park, opining that the Port of Spain City Corporation could employ its resources elsewhere.

Over the weekend, Port of Spain Mayor Joel Martinez said that after consultation with all stakeholders, the project for the development of the Nelson Mandela Park—which included replacing of the natural grass—will be put on hold. 

The most recent objection to the idea came from the Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ), which has argued for an approach more respectful of nature.

In a short comment on his social media pages, Dr Rowley stated:

“Replacing the natural environment at Mandela Park with artificial turf is a salesman’s foolish idea that ought not to waste the time or the resources of the Port of Spain Corporation. The Government is sure the Corporation can put its time and money to much better use and spare us all this unnecessary aggravation.”

The PM also commented on his hosting of a COVID-19 update media conference from Tobago, noting it was not the first time he had done so, and possibly hinting at more to come in the future.

The brief comment read:

“An article in yesterday’s Sunday Guardian erroneously stated that the media conference hosted by the Prime Minister on Saturday, which provided the national update on COVID-19, was held for the first time in Tobago.  This is NOT the first time that the Prime Minister hosted the COVID-19 national update in Tobago. Dr Rowley hosted similar media conferences in Tobago from as early as June 2020.”