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Managing director and CEO of Windies World Cup 2007, Chris Dehring, issued the warning in a report in yesterday's Jamaica Gleaner. "Look what's happening around the Eastern Caribbean. St Lucia builds the most fantastic cricket stadium you could ever imagine in the Caribbean and they’re going to start taking cricket away from Jamaica, who has been hosting Test since 1928."
"Antigua has also built a cricket stadium and they have just announced a $3.5 million refurbishment to what was already a fantastic cricket stadium, that makes Sabina Park look like a joke. Grenada also builds a brand new cricket stadium. Everybody is seeing the importance of this sport and we (Jamaica) need to make sure that we see it too," Dehring told the paper.
In addition to the 13 cricket-playing countries in the Caribbean, Dehring said cricket officials in the Bahamas area are also extremely excited about the World Cup, adding that Haiti has a cricket association and wants to be a part of the tournament.
Cayman, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos, USA, Canada and Argentina are also looking to host matches too, Dehring added.
"The World Cup is regional and they are a part of the region so the countries in the Caribbean better make sure they put their best foot forward if they are to host matches," the former Jamaica youth player noted.
Dehring said the capacity of the different arenas might also be a problem. "Right now we average about 15 000. We are going to need an average of about 30-35 000 seats per stadium," he said, noting that the USA is very much in the hunt to host matches and, with their money, may just be ahead of the others.
"They (America) flew us up there and told us to tell them how many seats we need, how many luxury sky boxes, how many regular sky boxes, how many press facilities. They said it will take them 30 days to put up the stadium and 10 days to pull it down. That's how the Americans think."
"They also showed us some of their temporary luxury sky boxes, nothing like what our permanent boxes here in Jamaica look like, so they can do it. I must tell you it's going to be a very competitive environment," Dehring added.
He also lamented another potential problem in the transportation facilities in the Caribbean. "Looking at transportation, we are talking about 100 000 or more visitors coming for the event. We never have that many visitors coming to the Caribbean at such a short space of time to move around between countries. When we add up all the air transportation now in the Caribbean we probably need about 40 more jumbo jets just to move people around," he explained.
On the matter of security, Dehring said the region had never had to deal with issues relating to such a big event.
"We are talking about handling terrorism so everything will have to be up to standard," Dehring warned countries who will be putting forward their bids. (Jamaica Gleaner)