• JIS News

    As Jamaica and the rest of the region prepares to host the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, Prime Minister Patterson in January broke ground for the upgrading of Sabina Park in Kingston.
    At that time, he described the government’s decision to partner in the renovation and expansion of the Sabina Park cricket ground as a necessary and timely investment in what was not only a sector of traditional importance, but one that would allow Jamaica to take advantage of the opportunities that were to be generated from the staging of the ICC Cricket World Cup tournament in 2007.
    The US$18 million required for the project was secured through a 99-year lease agreement between the government and the Kingston Cricket Club for use of the grounds, while a second lease agreement between the government and the Jamaica Cricket Association would provide for the generation of revenue earning activities that would ensure the repayment of the money, which is being loaned for the expansion. Mr. Patterson said earnings from those activities would also be used to carry out a programme of continued maintenance at the renovated facility.Noting that there was a direct link between the expansion of Sabina Park and the redevelopment of the City of Kingston, Mr. Patterson said that in the spirit of partnership that existed, every effort was being made to ensure that Sabina Park was delivered in the proper state for 2007 and that the City of Kingston was restored to its rightful place as a jewel in the Caribbean.
    He noted that the activities to be generated from the staging of the Cricket World Cup would not only benefit persons involved in the game, but that it would also result in a substantial development of communities adjacent to Sabina Park.
    The renovation and expansion of Sabina Park is being implemented in two phases and is scheduled for completion in May 2006.
    On November 11, the Prime Minister broke ground for the Greenfield Stadium in Trelawny, where the opening ceremony and the first round matches along with quarterfinals and semifinal matches of the tournament will be held. “At long last, the West Indies has been afforded the deserved recognition of its distinctive contribution to cricket by its designation as Host for the World Cup Tournament in 2007. And to crown it all, this honour has crystallised into fulfilling a long held dream, that of the provision of a first class sports stadium for western Jamaica,” Mr. Patterson told the gathering. The stadium will be a state-of-the art facility built to world-class standards, with permanent seating for 10,000 and the capacity for another 15,000 temporary seats. The project is being financed under a government-to-government loan to Jamaica from the People’s Republic of China, repayable over 20 years at an interest rate of two per cent per annum. “Our Chinese partners and local contractors are working around the clock to complete the construction on time and on budget, by the target date of December next year,” he said.
    Mr. Patterson noted that the construction of the facility, would open up tremendous opportunities for economic growth and social interaction for the citizens of Trelawny, through participation as sportsmen and women, as event organisers and managers, and as spectators, in a range of exciting sporting events, beginning, with Cricket World Cup 2007.
    “World Cup 2007 provides us with the opportunity and honour of being able to show the world once again that we are capable of successfully staging a first-class sporting event. From a tourism perspective, CWC 2007 will provide a welcome fillip to continue the strong growth we are already witnessing in the tourism sector. It provides us with the opportunity to showcase for a world audience the culture, lifestyle heritage, the beauty and other assets of our region,” the Prime Minister stated. Cricket World Cup 2007 also presents a number of new business opportunities for Jamaican and Caribbean entrepreneurs to provide goods and services for the event as well as to create new business contacts.
    Speaking to the future of the complex, Mr. Patterson said that while the Greenfield Stadium would be initially used to host the opening ceremony and warm-up matches for Cricket World Cup 2007, it would be used thereafter to host a range of events that will include traditional sporting activities as well as entertainment to attract tourists and Jamaicans alike. A company has already been incorporated to assume ownership of the Stadium after the World Cup is over. He informed that the government would soon be inviting proposals for investment, development and management services required for the multi-purpose facility and adjoining site. This adjoining site consists of 79 acres of vacant land adjacent to the facility.
    “We see the complex as one which could cater to a range of interests and activities not only in the field of sports, but entertainment such as musical concerts, gospel festivals, church conventions and occasions which need a capacity of this size,” he said.
    Continuing, Prime Minister Patterson asserted that, “what we are breaking ground for today is more than a stadium; we are breaking ground for new alliances and new opportunities as we strive toward a more prosperous Jamaica”.