Arnos Vale Facility, an investment for the future- Finance Minister
FROM LEFT: Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves, Education Minister Curtis King, and CWI Chief Curator Ken Crafton at Arnos Vale Cricket Ground on Wednesday afternoon (photo by Robertson S. Henry).
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June 7, 2024

Arnos Vale Facility, an investment for the future- Finance Minister

Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves has pointed to the importance of the refurbished Arnos Vale Playing Field as a spring board for sports, tourism and other areas of development in the long-haul.

He shared this vision in a SEARCHLIGHT interview on Wednesday June 5, 2024, as he and other members of Cabinet toured the facility ahead of the start of ICC Men’s T/20 games on June 13.

Although the Minister did not give a dollar figure of what is being spent to host this leg of the tournament, he said “it is correct to call it an investment”.

“ We’re building on the work that we did in 2007 which is…the last time we had significant financial investment in this particular facility.

“…we believe now that this is a facility that will attract top quality sporting events, will improve sporting tourism. That’s one…part of the equation.”

The Finance Minister pointed to the Bangladesh and West Indies series slated for December this year noting, “we’re very, very close to being able to announce a few more games, a few more series at this ground in the very near future. So we believe it will be a magnet for sports tourism”.

He also spoke of the post World Cup legacy.

“We have some of our money set aside to invest in grass roots cricket, including grass roots cricket at schools. So we are going to be buying gear, and we are going to be upgrading some school fields and all the rest of it. So this (Arnos Vale Cricket Ground) is the center piece,” the minister said.

“This is the headline of the investment, but a tremendous amount of additional investment is happening to make sure that this is not a one-off for the Cricket World Cup, but that it will have a lasting legacy for sports development, for sports tourism, and for inspiring the next generation of young athletes.”

Gonsalves went on to underscore the inspiration which can transfer to youngsters by seeing top talent perform at Arnos Vale and mingling with them.

“ They will inspire the next generation of cricketers, or in the case of Diamond Stadium that we’re investing in, footballers, or track and field athletes.

“That’s very important as well, to get young people excited about sports. So they put down their devices, they stop liming on the corner and they pick up a ball or a bat or their track shoes and go and do something that could earn them money in the future.”

It also is an avenue for instilling discipline, team work and camaraderie, the minister pointed out.

“Additionally, the investment is not just at the stadium. Part of our budget is also going to be spent on the Cumberland Playing Field. World Cup Cricket matches won’t be held there, but we’re going to upgrade the Cumberland Cricket Field. There is regional Under-19 cricket to be held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines later this year and there will be advancements made in Cumberland, “ he said.

“These are all important goals of any government in any developing country.

So yes, we think that it’s going to have a value in terms of dollars and cents…in terms of when we attract tourists and expenditure and people making money from taxis and concessions and the like, but the investment in sports always goes well beyond what the dollars and cents return will be.”

Members of the general public will be able to view in person, the refurbished Arnos Vale Playing Field ahead of the start of the first match on June 13.

“ We plan to do our final light test on Friday night and we plan to have a walk through with the general public. We’re going to invite the general public to see how this facility looks, but they won’t be allowed on the ground…not on the field…they would stay in the stands”.

He said this will happen either over the weekend or on Monday, at the latest.