Jun 08, 2014 News
The removal of a Test match between West Indies and New Zealand scheduled for later this month in Guyana has left the
country without significant revenue, with losses to the tune of millions of dollars.
The cancellation was triggered after the National Assembly passed the Cricket Administration Bill last month, causing a standoff between the Guyana Government and West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
The match, originally scheduled for the Guyana National Stadium at Providence from June 26 to June 30, has been shifted to Barbados by the WICB.
According the Pegasus Hotel yesterday, it has lost an estimated $60M from the cancellation. This would have represented revenue from rooms, meals and bar sales, among other things.
Additionally, Pegasus owner, Robert Badal, confirmed yesterday, the spinoffs from corporate taxes, airport departure tax, booked flights and taxis would have been tremendous.
Both New Zealand and the West Indies teams were booked to stay at the Pegasus.
Yesterday, President Donald Ramotar during a press conference at State House, his official residence, said that cricket Bill has been one that saw intense consultations between the parties as it was sitting in Special Select Committee.
The idea of the Bill, he insisted, was to bring accountability to the game. Quick to point out that he is not confirming that there were indeed rigged elections, the President insisted that it is totally untrue that his Government wants to take control as it already has its plate full with other problems.
He said that it is unbelievable the arrogance of the regional cricket board, especially when Government has been the one investing millions in stadiums and other infrastructure.
Ramotar pointed out that the wider society has supported the Bill.
Noting that Government is now even investing in a world class hotel to boost its profile, the President also said that the WICB is not taking into consideration that Government is the one that takes all the risks.
Cricket has played a major integration role for the Region. For WICB to pull the match is a “slap and an attack” on the whole integration process.
“This is bad news for the industry now as we are in June which is traditionally a period of low passenger volumes. We would also have been expecting a significant number of cricket lovers from especially the North America area,” said owner of Pegasus Robert Badal.
According to Badal, the cancellation of the Test match would come at a time when hotel occupancy is below 50 per cent.
“We depend on events like these and conferences and business meetings to survive.”
The businessman was also blunt about the issue over the Bill which landed Guyana in trouble with WICB.
“I don’t know what transpired here, but it is my personal view that Government should not be involved in the administration of cricket. It is the practice all over the world that the private sector administrates the sport. WICB has its standards and it must also be in keeping with what prevails with the international cricket body…the International Cricket Council.”
Badal was critical of the fact that Guyana would place its energies behind a Bill to administer cricket when it has led to the cancellation of cricket hosted here.
“Cricket is an institution heavily ingrained in the culture of Caribbean society which identifies and integrates us as a people. It contributes so much to the economy of the region as it has in other parts of the world.
Every effort must be made to preserve the independence of this institution.”
“Again, this is a serious blow to cricket lovers in Guyana and to the hotel and tourism industry. We have lost a huge chunk of revenue which could have benefitted Guyana. When we examine what prevails in other places like India and Pakistan where cricket is being managed by the private bodies, then the situation becomes even more worrisome.”
While the Princess/Ramada Hotel and Casino at Providence reported that it has not seen any major cancellations, other small hotels said they were preparing for an influx of visitors for the match.
Guyana last held a Test match at the stadium in 2010. The most recent one-day match was played there two years ago.
Government tabled the Bill over a year ago saying that reports of poor accountability and rigged elections in the local cricket boards necessitated the move.
Following the passage of the Bill last month in which A Partnership For National Unity backed the Government with the Alliance For Change abstaining, WICB announced that it was pulling the match.
According to the Board, the WICB sought an undertaking from President Donald Ramotar that the Bill not be signed into law until these matters are resolved.
“The Board gave its commitment that once His Excellency President Ramotar provided such an undertaking all arrangements in Guyana will be kept in place. Regrettably the WICB has not received such an undertaking from His Excellency President Ramotar.”
The WICB had serious reservations that the Cricket Administration Bill which was passed in the Guyana National Assembly thrusts the administration of cricket in Guyana from an independent body to the Government of Guyana.
“This the WICB views as undesirable and inconsistent with International Cricket Council tenets.
There would be no Guyana team because there would be no GCB, which is the only officially recognized authority for controlling cricket in Guyana and no Guyanese in any West Indies team, since it is mandated that players participate in Regional competitions to be eligible for West Indies selection.
The only savior of Guyana.
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