Bidding for 2007 World Cup
Mitchell wants system to be transparent
(From Frederick Halley in Toronto)
July 20, 2003
GRENADIAN Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell feels that preferential treatment should not be given to Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica over the other regional territories in bidding for the 2007 ICC World Cup cricket competition, to be staged in the Caribbean.
Mitchell, who was on a short visit to Toronto, Canada, told the Share newspaper here, that all the so called smaller and lesser developed territories are asking for, is for the system of bidding and contracting to be transparent and open. "The idea that you are big and I am small should not be a factor."
Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana and Jamaica are generally regarded as the "Bigger and More Developed Countries" in the region while the Windward and Leeward Islands are viewed as "Smaller and Lesser
Managing Director of the 2007 World Cup Cricket committee Chris Dehring has said the competitive bid process will open in October and end in January with the heads of government in each prospective territory
submitting that country's bid.
According to Mitchell, "the reality is the world has changed and those that were big before are no longer big anymore.
We had close to 20,000 people on each day for the two limited-overs matches against Australia last month and we generated the most revenue for the one-day games", he told Share.
Dehring and West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) officials met with CARICOM leaders at the heads of government summit in Montego Bay to discuss several issues, including a proposal for a special immigration law that would facilitate smooth travel for spectators between the Caribbean territories.
But according to Mitchell "there is however some serious work to be done to ensure that the plan could be implemented while protecting the safety of the countries."
The Grenadian Prime Minister also added that organisers have hinted that the country that is bidding to host the final would have to show that it has the seating capacity for 45,000 spectators.
"They did a preliminary analysis of all the venues in the region and Grenada was given a number one rating as having the most potential for seating that amount of people," Mitchell, a former Windward Islands
"If that criteria was the only one applied to get the final, then Grenada would get it. But you and I know that's not the way they are going to go," Mitchell asserted.
With none of the Caribbean countries being able to seat close to 45,000, Mitchell said that World Cup organisers have indicated that resources will be made available to transport portable seats once a venue has the space to accommodate the extra seats.
"They also have said that cruise ships will be brought in and used as floating hotels," added Mitchell.
Last month, Dehring said that Kensington Oval in Barbados and Sabina Park in Jamaica were unfit to stage World Cup matches, adding that refurbishment plans are around two years behind schedule. On the other hand, he said the best venues are now in the less traditional centres of the Eastern Caribbean such as St. Lucia, Antigua, and Grenada.
On Thursday, the Guyana government said it was examining two proposals from private groups to build a multi-purpose stadium to host matches in the tournament
Guyana's president Bharrat Jagdeo said the proposals were being discussed with a view to building a complex to include housing to accommodate 4,000 persons and a shopping mall to cater for visitors arriving in Guyana for the occasion.
He however said he was not looking at taking money from the Treasury to build the stadium but a private sector initiative with concessions granted which may include free land.
With the Caribbean limited in the amount of international venues it can present to host World Cup matches, Mitchell said organisers are planning to use up to seven venues, and some countries would be required to host two matches on some days.
After the bids are submitted next January, the venue assessment team - comprising professionals who have worked on world games including the Olympics and soccer's World Cup - will analyse the bidding countries in March 2004 to determine which are best suited to host matches.
A provisional allocation of matches will be made in April 2004.
This is the first time that the West Indies - which won the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979 - will stage cricket's extravagant showpiece.