Minister of Culture and Sports, Senator Norland Cox has stopped short of giving a direct figure on what the island’s government is paying to host the two upcoming one day games between the West Indies and the visiting English cricket teams.
Grenada is believed to be spending substantial amounts to stage the two games on February 25th and February 27th at the cricket stadium at Queens Park, St. George’s.
Speaking to reporters at the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing held last Wednesday at the Ministerial Complex Conference Room, Sen. Cox shied away from giving a specific monetary contribution but said that Grenada’s investment for the games is significant.
He spoke of the island having to put out money to meet a number of requirements which have to be satisfied for the successful holding of the two matches.
“For example, the curator is flying in to come and look at the outfield, and if there are any areas for improvement, we would have to get maybe more chemicals, more material; it’s an ongoing process.
That is one part, the preparation from the stadium part”, he said.
“The second part has to do with the fees for the game – that’s a second expense and so it is quite significant. It kinda hurts my head because of the investment that we have to make, it’s quite a lot, but I believe that it’s important because of the impact that the games have for us economically,” he added.
According to Sen. Cox, there are financial benefits for the island from hosting the games because the hotels are already fully booked up at the moment.
“…England is coming with a contingent of 3000 people minimum. So, Grenada is going to have a wonderful time. So within that context, we do not want to look too much at the figure but we want to present a wonderful experience for Grenadians, visiting English patrons and the teams – that is the main objective; but it’s a significant investment and we’re still going to be spending money”, he said.
Minister Cox stated that the organising team working to host the two matches is doing everything possible to minimise any negatives so that Grenada could have a good showing of itself. He said it is critical for the island to pay close attention to the indications and recommendations made by the Inspectors who are sent in to assess the situation for the holding of the matches.
“…If we have a little write up against us, it remains on the book; and so if there is a competition between us and another country for a particular game going forward, it could have a lot of red flags. Then your chances of getting that game are minimized…”, he said.
“…I can tell you, there was an experience the last time we had cricket where the Cutter was operating. Accidentally, a line burst, and some hydraulic fluid spilled on the field. And when I met with the people from Cricket West Indies, that was one of the first things that they reminded me of,” he added.
Over the years, the government has often mandated the state-owned bodies to purchase blocks of tickets which are often distributed mainly to supporters of the ruling New National Party (NNP) in order to fill the stadium for cricket matches and other major sporting events.