Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) secretary, Fritz Harris, says he is not overly concerned that Jamaica may miss out on hosting matches in the upcoming Caribbean Premier League Twenty20.
Jamaica, one of several countries in the region that is being considered for a franchise team in the newly created city-based league, does not have a venue that is capable of hosting night matches, which is a prerequisite for the West Indies Cricket Board-sanctioned event.
"The JCA is aware of the developments regarding to the planned start of the CPL, and as such has subsequently redoubled and fast-tracked its efforts to have floodlights installed at our main venue Sabina Park," said Harris.
"We have since had some discussions with relevant stakeholders and have received positive responses, and as far as the JCA is concerned, all bases are covered. We should be able to host a franchise," he added.
But with the JCA yet to secure funding be it public or private, and the start of the league being five months away, is the JCA being too optimistic?
Harris says no, as should the funding and the implementation of permanent lights be a problem, there exists the option of a temporary equivalent.
"In terms of time ... it is not against us," he said. "Permanent lights may be erected in as short a time as 22 weeks, which at the moment would throw us right in the thick of things.
"But a lot of people forget that there is also temporary lighting that can be just put up and taken down.
"Our main concern is to sign off on funding and to ensure that there is a capable maintenance plan that can satisfactorily take care of whatever investments are made."
The installation of permanent floodlights, according to Harris, is expected to cost between US$1.5 and 1.8 million.
Jamaica is the only major cricketing country in the region that does not have a floodlight venue that is capable of hosting first-class cricket matches.
The Caribbean Premier League is being organised by Barbados-based merchant bank, Verus International, and is set to feature West Indies and international players.
It has also being earmarked to replace the country-based annual Caribbean Twenty20 tournament, which had its fourth staging last month, and saw Trinidad and Tobago coming out on top for a third year in a row.
The league will have its main launch tomorrow in Barbados.