T&T focus now on Lara Stadium
PORT-OF-SPAIN – Trinidad & Tobago officials have taken the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) decision to reject their bid to host the Caribbean Twenty20 Championship on the chin.
Instead, they have used the opportunity to press the Kamla Persad-Bissessar Governmentto finish the controversial Brian Lara Stadium.
“The [WICB] bid process further underscores the need for our government to continue to work closely with local boards of whatever sport to help us to compete in this fierce international environment,” said T&TCB president Azim Bassarath.
“With this in mind, it is left to the ‘powers-that-be’ to ensure that all is put in place for the opening, and use of the Brain Lara Stadium.”
The West Indies Cricket Board blanked T&T’s bid to stage the Caribbean T20, awarding the rights to Antigua and Barbados.
One of the factors the WICB identified that weakened the T&TCB’s bid was the rental of the Queen’s Park Oval which it said was too costly.
Bassarath observed that had the Brian Lara Stadium been completed, it would have allowed the T&TCB to stage the matches either for free, or at a significantly reduced rental fee, which was strengthened the bids of both Barbados and Antigua.
“We are now calling for the swift action of the Government to undertake all that is necessary to conclude all works related to the stadium,” said Bassarath.
“. . .[This means] an audit and report from the structural engineer, with respect to the structure of the stadium, so that the cricket fraternity can have access to the facilities.”
Bassarath emphasied that the T&TCB had accepted the decision of the WICB, but the governing body would work over time to make T&T a competitive host venue.
“The T&TCB has accepted the explanation of the WICB in the award of the bids to host the Caribbean T20,” he said.
“We have no issue with the award to Barbados and Antigua, indeed we support their initiative in making a success of the tournament.”
He said: “T&T’s tourism market is now emerging, and has not yet attained the maturity of Barbados and Antigua.
“We are aware of the strength of their marketing strengths, and will certainly work with our government to be competitive at the next opportunity.”
The Caribbean T20 will be staged from January 9 to 24, with the preliminary stages in Antigua, and Barbados hosting the final stages. (CMC)