Historic! Flood Lights fully turned on at  Arnos Vale Stadium
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves (centre) along with Ministers Curtis King (left) and Camillo Gonsalves at Arnos Vale Cricket Grounds (photo by Robertson S Henry)
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June 11, 2024

Historic! Flood Lights fully turned on at Arnos Vale Stadium

Sounds of excitement reverberated around the Arnos Vale Cricket Grounds last Friday night June 7, 2024, when light tower number five was turned on, signalling a historical moment in the sporting annals of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

Minutes later, tower number 4 was turned on, then 3 and 2 respectively. Light tower number six lit up on Saturday night, leaving light tower number 1 as the remaining tower which was turned on on Sunday evening June 9, 2024.

Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves, and Minister of Education, Curtis King all arrived at the Grounds minutes after the light towers were lit up and, along with a few other Vincentians who were standing on the well manicured outfield at the Arnos Vale Cricket Grounds, savoured the historic moment.

One worker, sitting in the newly reconstructed P.H. Viera Stand shouted: “At last. Now we can see cricket here at night…under lights.”

Another was face-timing friends, pivoting so they could see the spectacle of the Arnos Vale Cricket Grounds bathed in flood lights, proof that after many pleadings, the only cricket ground in the Caribbean that was without flood lights, had now ‘come of age’.

“This has been extraordinary work by everybody,” Prime Minister, Gonsalves told SEARCHLIGHT. “For the doubting Thomases, and for those who said…the dance can’t pay for the light, people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing, they should be ashamed of themselves now. But where we are here this is an indication of the will of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and in less than six months, we have been able to transform this facility into a world class one.”

He pointed out “that 70 cents from every dollar of the 38 million dollars which we spent here have been spent on new things – the lights, the score board, the roads, those things. Of course, we spruced up what was existing before. Remember, in 2007 we spent a lot of money on this…on the ground,…for the drainage. It’s a beautiful drainage system which we have here. Of course, in 2007 when we spent 54 million dollars we had the double-decker, the administrative centre, the media centre, the administrative block, there’s a pavilion we transformed into the presidential suite from the former players pavilion”.

The refurbishment of the Arnos Vale Playing Cricket Grounds began months before the International Cricket Council through Cricket West Indies requested the submission of bids by the various territories with an interest in hosting 2024 ICC Men’s T/20 Cricket World Cup matches.

“…we had started the process of sprucing up even before…the bids were even open. And in addition to this, we had done on Sion Hill and we had done on Arnos Vale 2. It’s an extraordinary effort. We had 20 local contractors, plus other contractors regionally and internationally, all of that had to be pulled together in a limited time period. It’s great work and I’m very proud.”