It's official. The 60 feet by 36 feet national flag fluttering at the Hasely Crawford Stadium cost $2 million.
In response to recent criticism from the media and the public on the actual cost of the flag, Minister of Sport Gary Hunt and chairman of Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Sportt) Kenneth Charles have confirmed that total price of the flag is $2 million and the job was contracted to Fireone Fireworks. Hunt and Charles held a media conference yesterday at the offices of Sportt, Henry Street, Port-of-Spain. Hunt confirmed Fireone Fireworks was contracted to erect the flag and flagpole. He said three companies bid for the project, one of which was the international company Phabha Sports. Hunt said Fireone Fireworks won the contract, based on experience, price, reputation and its relationship with US Flag & Flagpole Supply. Hunt said the flag itself cost $18,112.15 as earlier reported, however the majority of the $2 million was attributed to the construction, erection, design and supply. Charles broke down the total cost of the flag and flagpole.
He revealed that the foundation and installation works cost $940,000. He explained that a 20-foot by 20-foot by 15-foot foundation was needed to support the 150-foot flag.
He said the foundation used 400 tonnes of reinforced concrete and 200 tonnes of steel, reinforcements, blue stone and granular backfill. The design and supply of the flagpole cost $932,400. He said the pole is 165 feet high overall and weighs 15,650 pounds. He said the pole was engineered to meet all international specifications and was made of A-36 carbon steel to withstand the 130 miles an hour winds when it is raised. He also confirmed that three additional flags were bought for $54,336, totalling a cost of approximately $2 million. Despite the backlash, Hunt said the flag was created to serve as a constant reminder of the nation's sporting heroes and was meant to inspire patriotism and national pride among the population. He also said $2 million spent on it was a worthy and life-long investment. Hunt said the flag was a part of a collaboration with Sportt to refurbish and update the Hasely Crawford Stadium in time for the Caribbean Games and all other future events.
He said the project was part of the Government's strategic national plan, Vision 2020. He said the ministry had not publicly released the cost breakdown earlier, as it was ensuring that all calculations and facts were correct. Hunt explained that the cost of the flag itself was revealed on Tuesday to disassociate that cost from the total cost of the project. He said the project fell into the ministry's budget for the last fiscal year.
Hunt said the ministry had actually worked under its allocated budget from the previous fiscal year. When asked about the two extra flags that were bought, he responded by saying that the ministry had future plans to add more legacy flags to other stadiums across the country to promote national pride that wouldl last for generations. He said despite public controversy, in time the public would come to appreciate the efforts made to inspire the nation.