Open your homes - Cricket World Cup organisers urge Guyanese
- Pitch, outfield problems corrected
By Neil Marks
December 22, 2006
WITH its option of a trailer park knocked out, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007 is moving to expand its Bed and Breakfast programme to get Guyanese to accommodate the thousands of visitors likely for the Super Eight round of the tournament.
This accommodation bugbear is one of the major challenges facing the LOC as it prepares to host the event, since the concerns of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the CWC have been met with regards to the pitch and outfield, engineer, Mr. Walter Willis said yesterday.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony, said the programme of getting accommodation is moving steadily along. He launched an independent website for the Bed and Breakfast initiative –www.guyanaaccommodations.org – to push the idea and to get more Guyanese to register their homes to accommodate guests.
An initiative for a trailer park is no longer going forward and thus the need for an expansion of the Bread and Breakfast programme.
The government has paid monies in advance to the Buddy’s International Hotel and the Casique Palace Hotel, both of which are under construction. The owners of the hotels have assured the LOC that the hotels will be ready in time to accommodate Teams, Officials, Media and Sponsors (TOMS) for the tournament.
Anthony said while Cricket Logistics is the company handling accommodation, it is Guyana’s requirement to have rooms available. He said without the two hotels, Guyana would not be able to meet the accommodation needs of TOMS and this was the reason that drove the government to make a down payment to the hotels even though they are yet to be completed.
While the concentration was on rooming, on its last visit here on November 16, the ICC CWC team deemed unsatisfactory the pitch and outfield, along with the sightscreens and the practice nets at the stadium at Providence, which has now been officially named the National Cricket Stadium.
According to documents provided by the LOC, the team found that there was no grass on the pitch and there was poor ground keep. The outfield was found to have sparse grass covering and was “very sandy and soft.”
At a press conference hosted by the LOC in its Georgetown office, Willis said the problems with the pitch have been corrected.
He said the reason for the outfield being soft at the time of the last visit of the ICC/CWC official was because there was no irrigation system in place at the time to drain the ground. Now, however, he said, that is now in place.
Willis noted that the correct grass cutting equipment has been acquired, and as such, when the ICC/CWC team comes for its final tour on February 6, 2007, all will be completed.
Minister of Public Works and Communication, Mr. Robeson Benn, noted that external works at the stadium are 65 per cent completed, and will be ready. These works include the parking area, drains, and the fence.
The Indian firm Shapoorji Palonji is working to correct all defects.
Meanwhile, Willis noted that the deadline for the extension of the East Bank four-lane highway from the Demerara Harbour Bridge to Providence will not meet the December 31 deadline.
However, he said major works would be completed by February 28 and Benn said this would include the installation of traffic and street lights.