Irma, Maria force JAVA to scrap NORCECA tournament
KINGSTON – The devastation caused in some Caribbean islands by the recent passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, has resulted in a mass withdrawal of regional teams from the NORCECA Beach tournament carded for next month and forced organisers to scrap the event.
Jamaica Volleyball Association (JAVA) president, Rudolph Speid, confirmed that the November 3-5 tournament scheduled for Ocho Rios would not go ahead as planned, with participating countries indicating their non-attendance after being affected by the tropical systems.
“We have issues because some of the teams are saying they are not coming because of the recent hurricanes, and so that is one of the big issues that we had,” he told the Gleaner newspaper here.
Speid added: “We can understand because a lot of the islands have been ravaged by the storms and there is just widespread cancellation of the tournament in the region because a lot of other countries have also cancelled their tours.”
Hurricanes Irma and Maria barrelled through the northern Leeward Islands just two weeks apart last month, causing extensive damage in several islands.
Barbuda, the sister island of Antigua, was left uninhabitable by Hurricane Irma while Dominica was ravaged by Hurricane Maria, which left a death toll of 15 in the tiny nation.
Speid said the option of rescheduling until later in the year would have resulted in a massive rise in costs.
“We were asked to put it for a later date in December, but December is in the tourism season and we can’t afford the hotels at that time, and so there is a financial issue because of the timing now,” he pointed out.
Earlier this year, Jamaica successfully hosted a similar NORCECA tournament also in Ocho Rios, and Speid said the association was disappointed it could not build on that accomplishment.
“We are very disappointed because we got two [tournaments] and we did one in [June] and it was very successful, and we thought we would have another one again, and so we are just disappointed that it is not happening,” Speid said. (CMC)