All on track for CWC -- Anti-terrorism training under way By Chamanlall Naipaul
Guyana Chronicle
December 2, 2006

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A REPUTABLE private security firm with experience in anti-terrorism methods has been contracted to train some 300 local personnel to provide security during the Guyana leg of the Cricket World Cup 2007 tournament, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, announced yesterday.

Security, he stressed at a news briefing, is being treated with utmost priority as it is one aspect of concern to everyone.

Anthony said the firm has been engaged under a special contract to train members of the Guyana Police Force and personnel of private security firms.

There is also an arrangement in place, he said, for sharing intelligence among the security forces of the various territories which will be coordinated by a centre in Trinidad.

With just 99 days to go before Cricket World Cup 2007, the minister assured that preparations in Guyana are on track and all outstanding work is being assiduously addressed to ensure the country is ready for the world’s third largest sporting event.

At a press briefing at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence, East Bank Demerara, which attracted visiting journalists from North America and the Caribbean, he said work on the stadium is 99% complete and the outfield and pitch are ready.

Journalists were also taken on a conducted tour of the stadium which has met international standards.

Earlier yesterday, the minister unveiled a signboard at the avenue on Main Street opposite the Bank of Guyana in Georgetown to mark the countdown of 100 days to the international tournament. The signboard features a marvellous painting of the stadium and will be updated every day to inform the public on the number of days remaining before the tournament begins.

Still to be done on the stadium are installing seats in one of the southern stands, road approaches, completing the vehicular park and a general tidying up and decorating the area, Anthony explained.

He assured that all outstanding work will be completed by February.

Anthony also told reporters a private firm has been contracted to dispose of waste during the hosting of the event.

Accommodation for the 37,000 visitors expected during the matches here has been of prime concern, he said, pointing out that in addition to the large hotels and the massive one under construction near the stadium, there are 50 small hotels which have been already built or near completion which will provide a total of 1,000 rooms.

More than $5 billion has been invested by the private sector in this area, Anthony disclosed.

He explained that 52 local doctors are receiving training to provide medical attention for the event, both at the stadium and in hospitals.

Medical facilities, he said, will be available at the stadium to provide immediate attention to persons who may fall ill and should the need arise an ambulance service will be on hand to deal with cases that may need hospitalisation.

There will be emergency beds at the stadium and health outposts also will be available in every stand, Anthony assured.

Doctors from foreign medical institutions, mainly from North America, have also volunteered their services to work at local hospitals to cater for the release of those who will be specifically assigned to Cricket World Cup, he said.

On the issue of transportation to the stadium and traffic congestion, the minister explained that several designated parking areas away from the stadium have been identified for spectators to park their vehicles and from those points special buses will shuttle them to the site at Providence.

Anthony reported that phases one and two of the ticketing process have been completed and there will be a short break during this month and resumption in January of the final phase whereby persons can go directly to the ticketing office of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and purchase tickets or could do so online.

The event is not being only treated from a cricketing standpoint but also as an opportunity to promote Guyana’s eco-tourism and cultural heritage and this is being done in collaboration with the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG), he said.

As part of the programme to provide entertainment and exposure to visitors of Guyanese cuisine and cultural history, a trailer park and a tent city will be established, as well as cultural and fashion shows, among other events, the minister said.

Of special note, he observed, will be an exhibition that will be mounted by the Guyana National Museum depicting the history and development of Guyanese cricket dating back to the 17th century.

And in addition to some 350 volunteers who will be guiding visitors around the stadium, another 1,000 are being trained as tour guides and a large number of signs will be erected to help guide foreigners around the city and its environs, Anthony said.

During the countdown to the event, he reported, several projects have been identified for completion, including fencing, landscaping and decorating the stadium and installing technical facilities for broadcasting and transmitting the matches around the world as it is expected that these will attract some 2.2 billion viewers worldwide.

During this period too, Anthony said, toilet facilities will be tested through what he described as the “royal flush”, in which all will be flushed simultaneously to assess the effectiveness of the system.

He also indicated that the tournament will be used to help raise HIV/AIDS awareness and promote safe sex habits.

The stadium has been constructed by the Indian firm Shapoorji Palonji at a cost of some US$25M through funding by the Indian government which has provided a US$6M grant and a US$19M soft loan.

The agreement was clinched when President Bharrat Jagdeo visited the sub-continent in 2004.

Recently, Indian Vice-President Bhaironsingh Shekhawat who was on a three day-visit here, dedicated the stadium.