Stadium work continuing
By Miranda La Rose
March 27, 2007
A view of the car park and the points of admission to the grounds of the Guyana National Stadium after the rains yesterday. (Photo by Christopher Yaw)
Amid persistent rain and concerns about Guyana's preparedness, work continued in and around the Providence Stadium yesterday as the race to be ready for tomorrow's Super Eight match continued.
All work at the stadium should have been long finished and the missed deadlines have resulted in the ICC-CWC expressing a loss of confidence in the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and appointing a French firm to finish off the work.
When Stabroek News visited yesterday work in and around the cricket stadium at Providence continued.
However, while the rains wreaked havoc on some areas around the stadium necessary for the successful staging of the events the cricket ground with its pitches and outfield weathered the test, according to the officials on the ground.
Among the areas affected by the rains were the car park, between Buddy's International Hotel and the stadium, and walkways between the booths which GL Events has set up for various purposes.
Technicians setting up a satellite dish next to the media centre at the cricket stadium at Providence yesterday. (Photo by Christopher Yaw)
Joining "the team" two days ago to overlook the final works and conduct systems checks at the stadium was ICC CWC West Indies Inc Venue Development Director and Chief Operating Officer Don Lockerbie.
Already on the ground were ICC CWC Venue Manager Andrew Sharp and ICC Pitch and field consultant Andy Atkinson who have been working alongside the other players including the Guyana LOC, the overlay company GL Events and the accreditation firm Rushmans.
Rushmans had begun informing local journalists, from its Accreditation Centre in the grounds of the stadium on Saturday, that media passes were available. However, on Sunday Rushmans cautioned the media that it was yet to be provided with a fully operational centre 12 days after the required delivery date. It also cautioned that the media may experience intermittent power interruptions and limited wifi and internet capacity and connectivity.
Asked to comment on the caution Rushmans had issued to the media, Chief Executive Officer of the LOC Karan Singh said he had not seen the media advisory; he was not interested in seeing it; it was Rushmans' prerogative to say what it wanted to, and it had not consulted the LOC before issuing the statement. However, he added, "cricket would be played in Guyana and everyone would enjoy themselves."
Yesterday was also a busy day for Chairman of the Guyana LOC, Dr Frank Anthony and heads of the various sub-committees including security and safety, who met at different times in the day.
While some officials of the ICC CWC West Indies Inc 2007, GL Events and Rushmans have declined to speak with this newspaper on meeting certain deadlines in the preparations for the first match to be held here tomorrow and reasons why the deadline had not been met, others said they were keeping their fingers crossed.
According to the LOC, it had contracted GL Events to set up the accreditation centre. However, this was only made known after the ICC CWC reminded the LOC in an email on March 17 that it was failing to meet its commitments as set out in a Host Venue Agreement (HVA) it had signed with ICC CWC West Indies Inc 2007 and the ICC was therefore handing the task over to GL Events.
The details of the HVA, according to ICC CWC West Indies Inc Senior Legal Counsel Derek Jones, are confidential. He said that the HVA is a confidential commercial document between the ICC CWC and the LOCs and both parties were bound by its terms.
Asked to comment on concerns expressed that the ICC CWC might be culpable for some of the problems now coming to light in Guyana and in other host venues because the officials had not been open about some of the issues, Jones said, "that may be so". However, he reiterated that the HVAs was a commercial document which was confidential and complex. Jones and Managing Director/CEO of ICC CWC Chris Dehring are currently in Antigua and Barbuda for the first of the Super Eight matches.
Stabroek News understands that five host venues were late in delivering on some of their commitments, including Grenada, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago; Guyana was among the tardiest.
However, on most occasions, if not all, whenever the local media asked about progression of works and meeting deadlines, the answers from both the LOC and the ICC CWC were always positive.
According to the agreements, all structures for the matches including for accommodation of the teams, officials, media and sponsors should have been completed by October 31, 2006 with a grace period for installation of key fixtures and facilities to December 31, 2006.
Guyana, like some other host venues, was given an extension of the deadline. Stabroek News understands that Guyana should have handed over the venue to the ICC CWC on February 19 but did not do so. And on March 17, Jones was forced to inform Guyana that the ICC CWC was assuming the management of the venue because it had lost confidence in the Guyana LOC to "deliver a fully functional operating Super Eight venue in accordance with your contractual obligations."
Yesterday, Rushmans Accreditation Manager Peter Osborn was working alongside his staff in the delivery of passes to all categories of workers, including the media, volunteers and caterers, who would be working at the stadium.
Asked about preparations for the media Rushmans Media Manager Keith Cooper directed this newspaper to the LOC's Public Relations Officer Richard Haniff who in turn told Stabroek News that all works were going well.
During a visit to the Media Centre yesterday Stabroek News observed the ICC Global Cricket Corporation setting up cameras and equipment and foreign journalists looking over the facilities that were available. Some of them expressed concerns because there was ongoing work in wiring and installation of a number of electrical outlets. However, the workmen assured them that the points would be ready in time for match day. "We would be finished by tonight [last night]," one said.
The number of journalists anticipated may not arrive. A large contingent had been expected from India and Pakistan. Had Pakistan made it to the Super Eights, the team would have played at least three matches in Guyana.