Cricket expense US$54M -sources By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
April 23, 2007

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Government's expenditure on infrastructure for the staging of six Super Eight matches of the ICC CWC 2007 tournament is in excess of US$53.6 million ($11B), some US$8.6 million over what the government had committed initially in its bid to host the event.

Though there has been no report on the short-term return on the investment during the staging of the match locally, ticket sales amounted to just over US$3 million of which 90% would be held by the government and the remaining 10% is expected to go towards the ICC CWC West Indies 2007 Inc.

However, it was expected that the infrastructural development, from both the public and private sectors would be seen as CWC 2007 legacies, which would benefit the economy in the medium and long term through the travel, tourism and hospitality industries.

According to Guyana's bid to host the event, the government had committed some US$45 million dollars for the development of infrastructure, including the construction of a stadium, roads and the expansion of the international airport for the staging of matches in the Cricket World Cup 2007.

Though no figures have been disclosed to date by the Guyana Local Organising Committee or the government on the sums spent for the staging of the event, reliable sources have told this newspaper that it is estimated that government's total expenditure would have been in the vicinity of US$60 million, including infrastructural development and the operationalising of the Guyana LOC over the past two years as well as meeting security and other obligations.

Though the government has not pronounced on direct investment by the private sector in the development of hotels and accommodation facilities, it was estimated that the private sector invested in excess of US$25 million for accommodation. Among the facilities was Buddy's International Hotel built at a cost of between US$10 million to US$12 million, the proprietor Omprakash Shivraj had told the Stabroek News; and the Casique Palace, Suites and Banqueting Halls, whose facilities are still incomplete. Both facilities received funding from the government to assist in completing work to ensure that Guyana met its accommodation requirements. The government's loan to both facilities amounted to just about US$1 million with Buddy's getting the larger portion of the loan.

Meanwhile, it was initially projected that the Guyana government's budget for the hosting of the Super Eight matches for the Cricket World Cup 2007 tournament would have been in the vicinity of US$45 million, according to the country's host venue agreement with the ICC CWC West Indies 2007 Inc.

In 2003 when the bid was made, the HVA, however, noted that "it would not be an exaggeration to say that it could reach US$60 million, without factoring in over the next four years inflation rates and changes upwards or downwards for prices on the world market."

At the time Guyana made its bid, the government had received a commitment from the Indian Government to build a modern and new cricket stadium to the tune of US$25 million. This was subsequently provided by the Indian government through a US$19 million line of credit and a US$6 million grant.

For fencing and additional infrastructural works around the stadium the government provided the sum of US$7 million.

Prior to this, the preliminary work for surveying, soil testing, land clearance and land preparation for the stadium was funded by the government to the tune of over $80 million or US$400,000. Funding was made available by the government from the Lotto Funds.

The sum of US$1.2 million was also spent to complete a number of facilities at the stadium including the installation of turnstiles, and the setting up of media and accreditation centres, a video board, installation of CCTV cameras and the furnishing of the Presidential suites and other furnishings.

According to the HVA the government intended to build the stadium regardless of whether the country had been given the opportunity to host the CWC 2007 matches because the Georgetown Cricket Club Ground at Bourda, could not continue hosting international cricket matches because of poor drainage during the rainy season.

In addition, the executive summary in Guyana's bid submission had indicated that the other infrastructural projects had begun. The bid was submitted in December 2003 by then Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Gail Teixeira.

This included US$10.4 million for the East Bank Demerara four-lane highway from Houston to the Demerara Harbour Bridge: US$4.6 million for the upgrading of the West Demerara Public Road in the vicinity of the Demerara Harbour Bridge; an additional sum of US$3.4 million; and the upgrading of the arrivals area of the Cheddi Jagan International airport, US$1.1 million.

In relation to the development of infrastructure, Appendix Seven of the HVA had noted that Guyana had over a period of three years negotiated for funding from the Inter-American Develop-ment Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri (CJIA) and massive road projects which include those critical for the hosting of CWC 2007.

In addition, a range of equipment for the Control Tower at Timehri and security equipment including detectors for explosives were procured for the CJIA and the Ogle Aerodrome to the value of US$502,000.