Former Prime Minister of Barbados and keen cricket enthusiast, Owen Arthur, has urged the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) to do more for the Legends of Barbados Project.
His call came last night while speaking at the BCA’s 2016 Quarterly Meeting held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St Michael. Arthur said the BCA could make a significant investment into the project because it now had the funds to do so.
“The BCA now has a substantial holding of Treasury Bills as part of the investments it has to generate income to support the development of the game. It needs to make a substantial investment into the Legends of Barbados Project to build upon the initial capital investment and the concessions provided. These capital injections were made to enable the venture to fully realise the enormous potential it possesses to enrich the livelihood of Barbados’ former Test players.”
The St Peter MP told his audience that if but one practical result emerged from his presence on the night, it would be that the legends investment should be adopted by the BCA in a manner that enables it to have a greater impact on the welfare of former Barbados’ Test cricketers than is at present the case.
Reacting from the floor, chairman of the Cricket Legends of Barbados, Desmond Haynes, voiced his concern at the failure of the BCA board to interact with the legends to build out the project.
The former West Indies opening batsman complained that several emails sent to the BCA board on the matter remained unanswered even though they have the funds in hand to assist.
Meanwhile, giving the background to the establishment of the Legends of Barbados Project, Arthur said it was conceived to be a physical expression of the nation’s appreciation of the contributions and achievements of its cricketers.
Arthur further stated that by their exploits in the Test arena, our cricketers contributed massively to the development of the society by helping to generate pride in our identity as a people.
He went on to say that at a more practical level, the project was intended to create an investment that was meant to generate a permanent stream of income for the former Test players who qualified as a Legend of Barbados.
Arthur said that to facilitate the project his government made a substantial investment in the re-development of the former Herbert House property at Fontabelle to be the home of the legends.
He further stated that the Legends of Barbados Project was conferred a status not made available to any other commercial enterprise in Barbados.
“It has been granted freedom from the payment of duties and taxes on its operations and on its income in perpetuity. Thus endowed, it was envisioned that the development of Fontabelle would be sequentially built out to become one of the main attractions and enterprises in Barbados befitting the title it has been made to assume. This has not happened to the extent envisioned nor to the extent required to enable the Legends Project to make an appreciable contribution to the wellbeing of the former Test players of Barbados,” Arthur explained.
Arthur stressed that Barbados’ cricket was in good hands and put much of this down to the resources made available to the BCA to implement the late Lindsay Holder’s five-year development plan.
Arthur stated that the plan which was started in 2007 saw the creation of the Everton Weekes Centre of Excellence for all age groups, male and female.
He said funding for these developmental initiatives came from the Barbados Lottery Revenue, but stressed that more could be done to return Barbados and West Indies cricket to the halcyon days of the 1960s and 1970s.
But while lauding the efforts of the BCA to improve the quality of cricket in Barbados and by extension the wider Caribbean region, Arthur asked: “ Where are the youth programmes in Grenada? Where are the youth programmes in St Vincent and the Grenadines?”