Indian, Jamaican governments to sign MOU on Sabina Park floodlights today

Jamaica Observer article.

Kingston, Jamaica - The Jamaica Observer understands that the governments of India and Jamaica will today officially sign off on an agreement to have floodlights installed at Sabina Park.

The news comes after months of discussion between several government ministries and entities and officials from the Indian High Commission, involving the streamlining of logistics of the estimated US$2-million project.

Jamaica is the only major regional nation without the requisite infrastructure for international night cricket.

When contacted yesterday, the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) president Wilford 'Billy' Heaven declined to provide details, but confirmed that an announcement regarding the lights implementation will be made today at the venue.

It is expected that Indian High Commissioner Pratap Singh and Jamaica's Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller will be in attendance.

The lack of lights at Sabina Park, one of the Caribbean's leading cricket venues, has been a controversial issue since the failure to put in the infrastructure for the region's hosting of the 2007 Cricket World Cup, though the country disbursed over US$100 million for its part in hosting the tournament.

The matter was brought into sharp focus during the inaugural Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 (T20) competition in 2013.

Ahead of that tournament, the then JCA administration announced that Sabina Park Holdings, the entity which manages the venue and its facilities, had a partnership with a financier and contractor for the project.

However, three weeks later, the deal collapsed after a breakdown in talks between Sabina Park Holdings, its affiliates and the would-be contractor.

As a result, games staged in Jamaica were frustratingly forced to start early afternoon instead of during the late evening to more effectively attract after-work spectators and prime-time television audience.

The Jamaica Tallawahs won the 2013 CPL, but the organisers have been pushing for the franchise's home venue to have lights installed in time for the second edition of the T20 event, which is set to commence in June 2014.

First Published In The Jamaica Observer.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 06:32