Mayor Mckenzie Lobbies for Sabina Park to Host World Cup Cricket


As the debate for the venue for the staging of the World Cup Cricket competition heats up Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie, has argued that Sabina Park, given its rich history as a cricketing facility, should be the location of choice.
“Kingston is our capital city.all the major facilities are available in Kingston, we feel that it is important that Kingston is supported as the preferred venue because as a capital city it would speak volumes to the long history of Kingston,” he stated.
Mayor McKenzie, who was addressing journalists yesterday (Feb.10) at the KSAC’s monthly press briefing, said Kingston’s staging of the event would enhance the capital city as a tourist location and create employment opportunities.
He noted that already, a Planning Committee had been created to look into the staging of the games. “The KSAC is committed to working and in doing everything that is possible to make Kingston ready and for us to host whether the opening ceremony or finals of the World Cup. We are supporting all the efforts,” he stated.
Jamaica is among 11 Caribbean countries and the United States that are vying to host the International Cricket Council/World Cup Cricket tournament scheduled for 2007. Sabina Park and Greenfield in Trelawny have been put forward as possible sites and Prime Minister P.J Patterson has appointed a technical team to look into the suitability of both locations.
But while Sabina Park already has a established facility, which Mayor McKenzize has acknowledged would need extensive improvements to accommodate the thousands of fans around the world that are expected for the competition, a new stadium would have to be built in Trelawny.
The coastal parish however, has the advantages of scenic beauty and location, being close to major tourist centres to comfortably accommodate visitors.
Councillor McKenzie said that it could cost in the region of some US$26 million to upgrade and prepare Sabina Park for such an event.
“We want everything to be done to facilitate Sabina Park as the venue for Cricket World Cup 2007, which is to be staged here in the West Indies”, he said, while calling for the redevelopment work in downtown Kingston to commence immediately, so that this could tie into what is being contemplated to make Kingston the ideal location.
The Mayor also disclosed that the KSAC was encouraging the new Municipality of Portmore to capitalize on the event in terms of providing rooms for the thousand of visitors that the event would attract.
“We have asked Government to take into consideration the fact that there will be a need for adequate rooms to facilitate the expected large contingent of overseas visitors that would flock the shores of Kingston to attend these games and we are proposing that Government initiate discussions immediately with the owners of the Forum Hotel in St. Catherine and to develop a programme to upgrade a lot of the small hotels and guest houses along the Port Henderson strip, which will go a far way in helping to create adequate accommodations for person to attending the games,” he said.
Pointing out the benefits that Portmore would gain, Councillor McKenzie said, “this call will be of great benefit to the people of Portmore and its environs because whatever benefit Kingston derives from the staging of the World Cup, Portmore would definitely benefit significantly from this.”

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