Jamaica donates 2007 World Cup headquarters
By Imran Khan in Kingston
Stabroek News
November 5, 2003

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During a glamorous and lavish but exclusive ceremony last Sunday evening, Jamaica’s Prime Minister PJ Patterson, officially laid the cornerstone for the building which will serve as the headquarters for the ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007.

Though not yet complete, the building, which is located in New Kingston in Jamaica, will be leased to the World Cup organizing committee at the “very princely sum” of one Jamaican dollar per year for five years.

Prime Minister Patterson, said that the donation of the building “was not done in any spirit of insular rivalry, but it was done as a contribution to the game of cricket and as a sign of what Jamaica is prepared to do to further the process of Caribbean integration.”

The modest two-story building, is being renovated at the expense of the government of Jamaica and is to be completed by the end of this month. Managing Director of the World Cup 2007, Chris Dehring, said that the building, though relatively small, will be the most technologically-advanced headquarters the World Cup has ever had.

The Jamaican government came in for profuse praise from not only the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) but also cricket’s governing body, the International Cricket Council. CEO of the ICC, Malcolm Speed, who was on hand along with ICC president Eshan Mani, said “this gesture is much appreciated” as he thanked Prime Minister Patterson for his government’s contribution.

Rawle Brancker, chairman of the ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007, also offered thanks and kudos saying that the building was a “demonstration of the government of Jamaica’s commitment and gives significant support to West Indies cricket and in particular to our World Cup effort.”

Both the Prime Minister and the ICC CEO agreed that the West Indies had earned the right to host the World Cup.

Prime Minister Patterson said, “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.”

Speed said, “you’ve earned it by hard work, great performance on the cricket field and proving to the rest of the cricket world that you have the ability as administrators to run one of the world’s major sporting events.”

In a profound declaration Prime Minister Patterson said, “to the people of the Caribbean cricket is a way of life, it is a potent force for uniting our people and is unquestionably the most visible and successful manifestation of Caribbean integration.” He made the comment in an attempt to explain to the ICC president that cricket’s worth goes beyond a mere recreational activity to the people of the West Indies; as a result hosting the 2007 World Cup “means everything to us”.

In a warm and magnanimous gesture, newly-elected WICB president, Barbadian Teddy Griffith, in his welcoming remarks, singled out past president Pat Rousseau and thanked him for the role he played in the campaign to bring the World Cup to the West Indies. Rousseau was one of the dozens of high profile special invitees at the event which was also attended by almost all the WICB directors and executives who flew to Jamaica from their respective territories to witness the laying of the plaque on the wall at the entrance to the building in addition to the signing of the host agreement which was done last night.