JIS News

The transport sector, in particular the fleet of buses owned by the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), is to be enhanced as a direct result of Jamaica’s participation in hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007.
Improvements in the service capabilities of several sectors will be accelerated, said Minister of Information and Development, Senator Colin Campbell.
Speaking at a recent press briefing at the offices of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), the Minister singled out the transportation sector as one of the areas where improvements would be fast tracked prior to the event next year.
“We are improving and upgrading the transport system. For example, some of the buses in the current JUTC fleet that are up for retirement, will be retired and new buses put in the fleet in time for the event,” he revealed.
Elaborating further, the Minister said that out of an initial fleet of 700 buses, 300 were still in good working condition. “It is now opportune for us to do some replacements and this would not be reflected in the cricket budget,” he explained.
He also cited the US$127 million expansion and rehabilitation project underway at the Norman Manley International Airport, where work has been done on the baggage area, ticketing concourse and terminal building as well as departure building. For this year, work is to be completed on the check-in area and waving gallery, as well as other areas earmarked for expansion or rehabilitative work.
“The airport had to be upgraded. However, we are trying to make sure that certain phases of it coincide with the event, so as to allow the airport to be much more user friendly,” Minister Campbell informed.
He pointed out that there were other government and private sector entities, which have invested in other infrastructure and “softer” programmes, and have also decided to move plans forward to capitalise on the event.
The Minister also took the opportunity to reassure the public that the legacy to be derived from Jamaica’s hosting of the event would be realised. Citing benchmarks to support his claim, Senator Campbell mentioned the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, where the total returns amounted to US$5.1 billion and most recently, the returns for Australia hosting the 2003 Rugby World Cup, reached a total of US$307.5 million.Sticking closer to home, Minister Campbell argued that the benefits of hosting the event have begun to redound, as the region was selected to host the ICC Champions Trophy tournament in 2010.
“The fact that we have been chosen to host another major cricket competition in three years, shows that the legacy programme has already started to bear fruit,” he said
As for other benefits, the Minister said that Jamaica as well as the region was set to receive immediate exposure from hosting the event, which could not be quantified in dollars and cents.
“When the focus is on your country for over a period of time, and in this particular instance it is not only on the event itself but during the preparatory stages and the post stages, that will give you continual international exposure and that is one of the reasons why we are involved,” he noted.
Jamaica will host some 11 matches – four warm-ups, six group matches and a semi-final – in addition to the opening ceremony, making it the territory to host the largest number of official events during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007.

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