February 9, 2007
‘Will be ready but not one hundred percent’

Every aspect of preparation will not be in place at the Arnos Vale Playing Field to host the finals of the KFC Cup February 17, neither will the facility be one hundred percent ready for the warm up matches beginning March 5.

Despite this, St. Vincent and the Grenadines will not be embarrassed, as the venue would be sufficiently ready to host players, officials and spectators in a safe and comfortable environment.{{more}}

That was the assessment of Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Fitz-Gerald Huggins when he spoke to SEARCHLIGHT last Monday via the telephone.

“We are trying to reach the minimum requirements as prescribed by the ICC (The International Cricket Conference)”, Huggins said.

“The ground will be to an acceptable standard, the outfield is in good shape and the pitch is ready, and I have no doubts”, he said with optimism.

He outlined that some of the proposed work has been scaled back and alternative measures put in place.

The LOC’s immediate task though is to get the venue prepared for the semi-finals of the regional one day competition the KFC Cup set for February 15 and 16.

This will be the first test of this country’s capacity to stage a world event, as all the systems will be evaluated February 17.

“On the 17th, we will be testing all systems -the Volunteer programme, Security, Hospitality, and Health”, Huggins revealed.

The LOC chairman is assuring Vincentians that whilst the facility may appear much behind schedule, “lots of cleaning work will be done before the 17th”.

The LOC chairman was equally optimistic that the ICC’s Venue Development Officer Don Lockerbie’s visit yesterday would have been another favourable review for his organisation.

A small team of assessors headed by Lockerbie was expected to visit St. Vincent yesterday February 8, as they keep in touch with all the host venues for the matches.

Responding to the current state of the Double Decker stand, which has posed a head ache for the LOC as well as the ICC officials, Huggins said, “ it will not look like what people want it to look like, but it would be finished’.

The Double Decker, the largest structure at the Arnos Vale Playing Field, like the entire facility has had several dates of completion, yet none have been met.

When the full assessment team visited in November last year, a new date of completion of that stand of January 31 2007, was given from a previous December 31, 2006.

In his appraisal of the performance of the LOC’s operations over the past year, Huggins thought that, it was “phenomenal’, given the hiccups of cement and labour shortage.

The latter was alleviated by the importation of workers from Haiti.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is one of three venues which will stage official warm up matches from March 5 to 9.

England play Bermuda March 5, with Australia meeting Zimbabwe the following day.

Zimbabwe play Bermuda March 8, and England and Australia face off March 9.