Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley was last night accused by the president of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), Conde Riley, of misleading the Barbadian public on the issue of the hosting of the 2018 Women’s World Cup.
During the popular Mason and Guest cricket radio programme, the sports minister was invited to discuss what transpired after the Government of Barbados was said to be at fault for not co-operating with the BCA in securing the bid to host the women’s cricket World Cup scheduled for this November.
The two-hour long discussion which initially began between Lashley and moderator Andrew Mason, became heated when the BCA’s chief executive officer, Noel Lynch, joined the discussion along with Riley sometime afterwards, and as the two BCA representatives and the minister sought to get their points over.
At the end of the heated clash, though, both parties ‘kissed and made up’ while agreeing to meet later to discuss various matters affecting the relationship between the BCA and Kensington Oval Management Incorporated (KOMI) with finance being at the top of that list.
However, as it related to why Barbados dropped the ball on the women’s World Cup, Lashley said Riley never showed up to the meeting which he and Lynch were both invited to by the Government in order to discuss matters related to Barbados’ interest in hosting the women’s World Cup.
In addition, Lashley explained that there were a number of questions that were left unanswered. “I believe that more information should have been provided and all you have is a government through the ministry of sports asking some questions.”
But Riley hit back saying he had not received any invitation to have a meeting and added that had he been invited he would have gladly met with the minister.
Following that Lashley also responded as to why Kensington Oval’s outfield was in such a poor state, stating that its maintenance was the responsibility of the BCA.
He also pointed to the Kensington Oval facility having significant structural issues which were the responsibility of KOMI, and which he added were costing the government BDS$1.5 million every financial year to maintain. Lashley also called for accountability on the $1.45 million spent on hosting the Barbados leg of the 2007 World Cup.
“Beyond the issues of the tremendous cost that the Government has in terms of maintaining Kensington Oval because of poor design structure, there is the issue of the outfield. The outfield is the responsibility of the BCA. I must say if the BCA made an observation that the outfield does not look good and it is spotty, it is really reflecting on its own self.
“Somebody in my view would have cut corners in relation to quality, in relation to the workmanship in terms of what Kensington Oval turned out to be…The quality we have at Kensington Oval where you have roofs that are leaking, you have walls that are not really walls but were supposed to be walls. We have plumbing issues at Kensington Oval, we have a whole plethora of challenges,” Lashley indicated.
But Riley then put the minister on the spot suggesting that each time the BCA tried to do work on maintaining the outfield at Kensington Oval, they were unable to do so because Government kept accommodating one non-cricketing event after the other at the facility.
Riley referred to CARIFESTA activities and the David Thompson Memorial Constituency Councils Football Classic’s third-place game and final held last year, as two events where the outfield at Kensington Oval was negatively impacted.
“We are paying $9 000 a month to get that field up to scratch but every time we get a certain way there is another event. After these events the people hosting should also cover the remedial work. We have not received a single cent, we are paying $9 000 a month and on top of that – the minister doesn’t speak on these things – we have not received any money, if you look in our audited financial statement,” Riley stated.
Lynch echoed similar sentiments, noting: “The reason the BCA took back the maintenance of the outfield, which it literally had to, is because KOMI was not in a financial position to pay those people who are looking after the field.”
The BCA’s president also went after Lashley on the charge that since 2009 the BCA had not received a copy of the insurance certificate for Kensington Oval. Riley also pleaded with KOMI who he said owed the BCA BDS$11 million to provide the association with an audited financial statement.