Robert Bryan. - File
Are you satisfied with the country's level of preparation in Falmouth, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Kingston?
I'm satisfied with the country's preparations in those areas. I think that we have not as a country agreed on what exactly we want to get out of hosting the event. This vision needs to be developed and articulated to the country and I firmly believe that the central government has a clear lead responsibility in this regard. Secondly, I believe we continue to underestimate the tremendous effort that is required to get the country ready and as such we have not put in place a clear mechanism, with the appropriate leadership and resources to coordinate what is undoubtedly one of the major national responsibilities that the country has committed itself to in recent times. As such, our efforts to date appear to be on a business as usual manner. Business as usual will not get the job done.
Jamaica as a brand is recognised in the world's top 10 and here is an opportunity before a television audience of 2.6 billion persons worldwide to highlight our culture, our music, our history and the warmth and beauty of our people. To showcase this properly, the country must implement a truly national campaign to mobilise all Jamaicans to come together and position Jamaica in a manner that makes us all proud. It is an opportunity that, unfortunately, I see slipping us by with the passage of each day towards the event.
What is the cost to Jamaica of hosting this event?
The cost to the national purse for hosting the event is U$$105 million. Of this amount the Local Organising Committe's (LOC) budget is US$80 million, broken down: US$63 million for stadium construction; and US$17 million in temporary overlay event operations expenses. The balance of US$25 million is country specific allocations to various ministries and agencies to cover road works, hospital upgrades, national legacy planning, tourism marketing, security, upgrading the protocol fleet and community mobilisation.
These agencies and ministries need to be explaining much more to the country what these resources are being used to do in the preparation of the country and also indicate the goals and objectives they are attempting to achieve so that the citizens can be more fully informed of the wider national preparation efforts outside of those specific to the LOC.
How will Jamaica and Jamaicans benefit?
The benefits of hosting the event of the Iinternational Cricket Council (ICC) must be seen over the short, medium and long term. Immediately a large number of Jamaicans - skilled and casual labourers - are working on the various projects sport be it venue construction, events planning and management, etc. New markets are being explored (Ministry of Tourism Entertainment & Culture has introduced a Bed and Breakfast Home-Stay progamme, whereby ordinary Jamaicans with an extra room in their homes can make it available to cricket fans for a cost. During the staging of the event, there will be an increase in the number of visitor arrivals; Jamaica will now have three first class stadia - The National Stadium, Sabina Park and the Trelawny Multi-purpose Sports Complex. This is an opportunity for the authorities to look at embarking on a new area of sports/entertainment tourism. Finally, the exposure that Jamaica will receive from the television platform cannot be quantified.
The long-term benefit to the country in my view, however, is very dependent on the quality of the national country program, the legacy programme that the country implements, utilising and leveraging on the event itself. Much work needs to be done to get such a programme developed, agreed and understood by the citizens in order to entertain credible expectations of major proportions for the country as a result of hosting a part of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in Jamaica.
Having provided my own thoughts on the matter, I firmly believe, however, that the Government of Jamaica, who has signed this agreement, needs to do much more to build a consensus in the country, around the considerations they must have had prior to signing such an agreement and subsequently committing the level of resources to implementing the agreement to host the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in Jamaica.
Are members of the public invited to the opening in Falmouth and will they need special tickets?
The opening ceremony of the ICC Cricket World Cup will be held on Sunday, March 11 at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Sports Complex. This is a special event of the ICC at which all 16 teams, officials and sponsors will be in attendance.
As an official event of the tournament, tickets to this event must be purchased in the same manner as other match day tickets by going online at
www.cricketworldcup.com or at the Jamaica Ticket Office located at Shops 51 & 52, Kingston Mall, Downtown Kingston.