Caribbean's economic growth expected to slow
Stabroek News
May 4, 2007

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Economic growth in the Caribbean will continue beyond April 29, 2007 because of infrastructural development for Cricket World Cup 2007, but it is expected to slow to around 5.5% this year, a Scotia Bank Global Economic Research on CWC 2007 said.

The research document attributed the 8% growth in the region's economy in 2006 "in large part to the CWC 2007", because of event preparations over the last few years, including resorts and facility construction. However, the economic growth rate, while it is expected to continue, would drop to about to 5% this year.

Host country governments, the report said, would have invested some US$500 million in upgrades to airports, roads, power generation and information technology, while US$300 million would have been spent on stadium development and another US$40 million on temporary facilities. Twelve stadia were built or reconstructed for the CWC 2007 tournament, including the Guyana National Stadium at Providence, East Bank Demerara.

The downside to the world's third largest sporting event, the report said, was excess demand for goods and services, which would have caused upward price pressures for transportation, accommodation, food and other services.

In Guyana, some of the country's local engineers estimate that infrastructural works including stadium construction, massive upgrading of roads; and upgrading of the Cheddi Jagan International airport among other activities would have cost Guyana in excess of US$60 million, regardless of the sources of funding.

The Guyana government has expressed "grave concern" about approximate figures being put forward by this newspaper based on research and figures already in the public domain. The government has made no public statement on the total of the country's investment in CWC 2007.

Some of Guyana's expenditure includes: stadium, US$25 million; infrastructural development around stadium including fencing and access to stadium, US$7 million; temporary overlay, US$1 million; upgrading of roads, some US$18.4 million; and land preparation for stadium development, US$400,000.

Figures for the operationalising of the Guyana Local Organising Committee over a two-year period; cost of energy during the Super Eight matches in Guyana; and investment in information technology have not been made available.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the region, the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) quoted the Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Delano Franklin as saying at the launching of the CWC Legacy programme at Eden Gardens in Jamaica in March that Jamaica's investment amounted to some US$198 million.

Franklin had said that half of the sum was spent on stadia development including the construction of the Trelawny multi-purpose stadium and US$30 million on the reconstruction of the Sabina Park in Kingston.

He said Jamaica expects returns on its investment during the CWC 2007 legacy period which runs until 2012, to the tune of US$400 million.

Jamaica hosted the opening ceremony, the first match for the opening of the CWC 2007 tournament among other group matches and one of the semi-final matches.

The Trinidad Guardian newspaper has also reported that Trinidad spent TT$93 million (US$15.5 million) to host the warm-up and preliminary round matches in the CWC 2007 tournament. The report did not indicate how much was spent on infrastructural works that might have taken place including stadium renovation. (Miranda La Rose)