The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is accusing the Freundel Stuart administration of dropping the ball on a lucrative boost for sports and tourism by missing an opportunity to host the International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s World T20 Cup final at Kensington Oval next year.
BLP leader Mia Mottley is contending that Government failed to back the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) in its bid to secure the tournament’s biggest game, and in turn will cost the Treasury millions of dollars in potential tourism and other revenue.
Describing the development as “shameful”, Mottley charged that all that was needed was for the administration to provide visa waivers, which she claimed would have amounted to no more than $400,000, to give Barbados an opportunity to host the tournament’s biggest game.
With the authorities’ failure to act, she maintained, Barbados will not even host a preliminary match when the tournament is held in the Caribbean in November 2018.
“As a Barbadian woman I am completely embarrassed and humiliated by the fact that the Barbados Government failed to provide any support whatsoever in respect to guarantees to host the matches,” Mottley told journalists at a news conference at the Opposition Leader’s office in Parliament this afternoon.
West Indies are the defending champions, after the side led by Jamaican Stefanie Taylor defeated Australia in the final in the Indian city of Kolkata in April last year. Seven members of the 15-player team that took part in that tournament were Barbadian.
“To have this opportunity being the only country in the Caribbean to have hosted three cricket World Cup finals, it is unthinkable that we were not prepared to offer a guarantee that would give the Government no greater exposure than $300,000 or $400,000 with respect to the waiver of fees for teams participating, is most unfortunate,” Mottley stressed.
The BLP leader charged that in addition to letting the cricketing fraternity down, the administration was also hurting hoteliers who would have benefited from the spinoff, as contingents of supporters were expected to travel with the various teams.
“What are we saying to the hoteliers who would otherwise be getting this business in November of next year? This would have been a month before the tourist season starts. What is the message to the taxi drivers, restaurateurs or all of the people who would be expected to service the teams visiting Barbados but the many thousands of persons coming to view the game?” questioned Mottley, who claimed the last World Cup final hosted by Barbados had contributed $51 million to the economy.
A team from the ICC visited the Caribbean in late October and early November this year as part of preparation and planning for the tournament. The team inspected 11 venues in eight countries, including Kensington Oval.
Cricket West Indies (CWI) will recommend the 2018 ICC Women’s World T20 venues to the sports governing body, which it is expected to give its approval at a board meeting in February.
During the visit Simon Jelowitz, ICC’s senior event operations manager, who led the delegation, said the cricketing body would work closely with CWI over the next year “to put together a truly global event with the Caribbean flavour which, in turn, will not only inspire young girls and boys to take up the sport, but also attract new audiences”.
Today, Mottley argued that with the country seeking growth while simultaneously celebrating the achievements of its citizens, the exclusion of Barbados from consideration made “absolutely no sense”.
However, she claimed the missed opportunity was consistent with the Democratic Labour Party’s practice of acting “only in its political interest” to the detriment of the country.
“We have become accustomed to a Government that acts only in its political interest or in the interest of a few friends. This Government has displayed over and over again, and perhaps the Barbados Cricket Association should have had different initials from BCA if they wanted the Government guarantee to be provided for them in good time. What is significant is that even despite passing the deadline inspectors still came to visit in Barbados in hope that the guarantee will come,” the Opposition leader charged.
Ten teams will participate in next year’s event, which will run from November 3-24. West Indies hosted the 2010 tournament – with the final played at Kensington – and will become the first nation to host the tournament twice,