Cricket World Cup in SVG- More than dollars and cents
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April 12, 2024

Cricket World Cup in SVG- More than dollars and cents

EDITOR: I am very happy about the fact that the government of this country made a successful bid to host T/20 Cricket World Cup games in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. As a result, international cricket is about to return to the Arnos Vale Playing Field for the first time in 10 years. We will host five matches in the tournament in the period June 13-24, 2024.

The government is spending $32 million to upgrade the Arnos Vale Playing Field and ancillary facilities in preparation for the World Cup. The main cost items are the installation of flood lights, erection of an electronic scoreboard, renovation of stands and purchase of field equipment. The preparations seem to be on schedule.

The decision to host the World Cup was not a financial decision. The games would of course generate some degree of returns to the local economy in terms of income from visitors and payments to local service providers. However, I do not anticipate that we will recoup the $32 million investment over the course of the five games. Fortunately, the upgraded facilities would of course be available for use in the future. Even so, if the decision about making a bid to host World Cup Games was to be made only on the basis of financial criteria, it probably would have been an uncertain call for us and for most other countries. Jamaica decided against making a bid for World Cup Games presumably because the government of that country did not think that it made sense. I think that this is quite unfortunate considering the fact that Jamaica has produced one of the all-time greatest T/20 cricketers in the person of Christopher Gayle.

For me, the real benefit to be derived from hosting the World Cup cannot be discussed in terms of dollars and cents. The justification is related to the fact that hosting the games gives us an opportunity to serve the world and to help put on an international showcase of the great qualities of the human spirit embodied in elite athletes for a global audience of billions of persons around the world. This can generate excitement.

Recently, I listened to an interview of former USA Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. Before running for president, Mr. Romney was the CEO of the Organising Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games that were held in the USA. In the interview, he made the point that people don’t get excited about a “money thing.” They get excited about special opportunities to be involved in a grand project like the Olympics that give them a sense of purpose and meaning.
This analysis is also applicable to the Cricket World Cup.

I think that there is great value in exposing our children to the courage, determination, team work, faith, passion and patriotism that the cricketers will display on the field during the World Cup. I would like to see local and regional crowds cheering for sportsmanship and high excellence by West Indians and cricketers from other nations. This exposure can have a profound impact on all of us. I am sure that we were all inspired in some way or the other by the recent on-field heroics of Shamar Joseph in a test match in Australia. This fact can help you understand the profound potential impact of sports.

Indeed, the exposure to excellence is likely to stimulate the development of young cricketers and inculcate in them the necessary discipline and other desirable qualities required to pursue a career in sports and to be productive and constructive citizens of our society. These are important potential outcomes.

Moreover, the World Cup gives us an opportunity to welcome some of the best athletes in the world to our country and to show them some good ole Vincentian hospitality. They will have a chance to discover the beauty, history and nature of our country and to learn about the character and characteristics of our nation in terms of our values, passions, history and general culture from our people, towns and villages or communities.

The World Cup would bring together many persons from across the world for a good cause – they will come together, eat together, sleep together and work their hearts off together as volunteers and in other capacities to make sure that the tournament is a resounding success. This priceless experience will build and cement relationships.

If we see the decision about bidding to host World Cup Games in terms of an opportunity to serve the world, showcase great qualities, expose our children to positive attributes, welcome persons to our shores, and bring people together for a good cause; then the answer to the question of whether or not we should make a bid will always be a resounding yes!

This is why a poll that was done in Sydney Australia in the aftermath of the 2000 Olympic Games that were held there showed that 80% of the population of that city would be happy to “do it again” in relation to hosting the Olympics. I believe that those results can also be translated into the realm of World Cup Cricket.

Our government made the right decision on this matter. I look forward to seeing World Cup Cricket action at the Arnos Vale Playing Field in a few weeks time. SVG to the world.

Luke Browne