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Not like that

ALEX DOWNES, [email protected]

Not like that

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The ICC Women’s World Twenty20 is a ball Government refused to play at, but for a very good reason. Minister of Sport Stephen Lashley made this clear yesterday as he explained Government did not give its blessings to host matches as they were asked by the BCA to sign a letter of intent, which seemed akin to a binding memorandum of understanding (MOU).

In an hour-long press conference at his ministry headquarters in Haggatt Hall, Lashley quickly dispelled any notions Government was not interested in hosting next year’s women’s cricket spectacle, which runs from November 3 to 24.

Lashley said in the early steps to host the event, Government was asked to sign a letter of intent that asked them to acknowledge a number of points, including waivers for all taxes, immigration and customs as well as waiver licences for all stadiums and venues to host matches and events.

This meant Government would not see any money directly associated with hosting the cricket tournament, while losing out on $80 000 a day by conceding rights to Kensington Oval.

Lashley said the letter of intent required Barbados to provide police escorts, border, route and venue security, disaster management, clean-up, beautification, general hospitality support, event operations as well as provide a satellite uplink for broadcasting.

Security and support services alone could top $ 19 000 a day, with Government being expected to make returns on speculative tourist arrival numbers, Lashley said.

The minister said the document also stated that by signing, Government would “irrevocably and unconditionally” agree that the decision of CWI and ICC in relation to the hosting of matches shall be final and Government would abide by their decisions.

In an October 10 email, Lashley said he signalled Barbados’ intent in hosting the T20 matches, but also made it clear he could not sign the document as it was.

“The letter of intent, which the BCA was asking the Government to co-sign, had a number of issues which I want to highlight,” Lashley said.

“My contention, which I communicated to the BCA was that I could not sign that letter of intent in its current form because it sought to bind the Government fully into everything it was asking for and it was not simply an expression of interest,” he added.

One day prior, both Opposition Leader Mia Mottley and BCA president Conde Riley expressed disappointment in Government for not responding to the cricket association’s request for guarantees. Mottley in particular lambasted Government for their lack of support and said she was completely embarrassed by the situation.

However, Lashley chided the Opposition Leader for making a political spectacle of the matter without having all the facts.

“I want to say in direct response to Ms Mottley’s comments that this issue is really not a political issue and ought not to be politicised. I think it is unfortunate that that has been the approach taken,” the minister said.

“What Ms Mottley has spoken about is filled with inaccuracies and therefore I felt it was important to clarify for the record,” he added.

Additionally, Lashley said he was never alerted to any extended deadlines or even the BCA’s decision to still send the bid to the CWI.

Despite the now highly publicised situation, Lashley said Government remained committed to hosting international sporting events.  (AD)