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The Government of Jamaica is projecting that spin-off from direct foreign investment related to the hosting of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, could amount to some US$400 million.
“This is new money we are talking about,” Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Delano Franklyn said. He stressed however, that this figure was a projection.
Senator Franklyn, who made these remarks at the recent launch of the Jamaica Cricket Legacy programme at Eden Gardens on Lady Musgrave Road, also said that the government anticipated an increase in export earnings. “I am talking about spill-off from hosting CWC 2007 of US$198 million,” he informed.
It is expected that these figures will be realized by 2012, the time frame allotted for the legacy aspect of hosting the ICC CWC 2007 to “bear fruit”, the State Minister said.
“The legacy aspect. is five years from now, which gives you some time to benefit from now and most importantly it will be our 50th year of independence and it was felt we should use it as a bench mark and a framework for development,” he stated.
During that period he said, the government would continue to champion the development of communities with the driving force behind the legacy programme being Jamaica Trade and Invest, formerly the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), through the creation and strengthening of international connections in the area of business.
Continuing, Minister Franklyn iterated that the CWC 2007 was not just about cricket, but was also about making use of a grand opportunity to showcase what each territory had to offer, and by extension the region. “It is important for each country to see how best it can benefit, prior to, during and after cricket,” he argued.
In the case of Jamaica, he said the government took the decision some time ago that there must be a legacy aspect of the preparations to host the event and as such, the country set out to honour obligations under the host venue agreement with this mind.
“What an international event does is that it forces a country to take on board many things which would have been required to be done over a longer period of time,” he explained.
“So there were a number of projects that we were undertaking here in Jamaica, some of which we were able to bring forward and some of which, we were not able to finish in time for the ICC CWC 2007 and which will be continued after the event,” he said.
Senator Franklyn cited the construction and reconfiguration of the Norman Manley International Airport as one such project. “We were able to bring forward some of our deadlines but certainly we will not be able to finish what the final product will be before the end of CWC 2007,” he commented.
In terms of the stretch of roadway from Montego Bay to Falmouth, he emphasized that it was never the intention to finish that work prior to the ICC CWC 2007.
“It is part of major construction taking place on the Northcoast highway and we brought our deadlines forward in order to make it as ‘drivable’ as possible for ICC CWC 2007 and this will be a long lasting legacy,” the State Minister insisted.
In the meantime, he responded to the issue of expenditure regarding the event, which has surfaced continuously. “What is unfortunate about it is that every cent that is put forward to deal with infrastructural development is tacked on as a cricket expenditure and I am asking for us to separate both,” he implored.
“You have expenditure for cricket and you have expenditure for capital development in order to enhance and benefit cricket, which will end up benefiting the country over a long period of time,” Senator Franklyn said.
He reminded that out of an expenditure of more than $8 billion, half was spent on the Sabina Park and the Trelawny Multipurpose stadium.
For the latter, some US$30 million was made available by way of concessionary grant/loan from the Chinese government specifically for sports development.
“When CWC 2007 is over, nobody will be able to take up that stadium package, put it in their pocket and walk away with it. It will always be there in Trelawny,” he posited.
“The challenge which will face us is one of maintenance and management of that particular stadium,” the State Minister said.
He also noted that US$30 million was spent on Sabina Park. “At some point in time it had to be upgraded. We had to put in place proper media facilities. a proper pitch and outfield,” he said, adding that “when this over, the concern will be the proper management and utilization of the park”.
The first match of ICC CWC 2007 is set to bowl off at Sabina Park on March 13 between the West Indies and Pakistan at 9:30 a.m.