President of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Conde Riley is hoping that his organisation will soon have a meeting with newly elected Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley and recently appointed Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports John King.
The day/night Test at Kensington Oval from the 23rd to the 27th of this month is among the items the president would like to discuss with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Sports. However, the historic Test match is not the principal subject Riley intends to discuss with Mottley and King.
“We have the historic day/night Test match against Sri Lanka from the 23rd to the 27 of June but we also have to try and secure a Test match against England next year. The BCA has had an offer from Cricket West Indies, therefore, we need to have a meeting with the new Minister of Sports and the Prime Minister as soon as possible to discuss England’s tour to the region. Every country in the West Indies will be bidding to host a Test match against England because of the economic value that is derived from the thousands of English supporters who attend these Tests,” Riley told Barbados TODAY.
“I know Barbados have several competitive advantages that would put us in good stead to host a Test match against England and possibly a couple of One-Day International matches. The economic impact a Test match and a couple of ODIs against England would have on Barbados’ economy will be great and at this particular time where our foreign reserves are low, we expect that the Minister of Sport and Prime Minister will make every effort to support us in bidding to host a Test match against England and one or two of the ODI matches. I am looking forward to a meeting with them as soon as possible,” Riley, a former investment banker added.
Over a decade ago, the BCA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Barbados through the Barbados Investment INC (BTII) to lease its property at Kensington Oval to Kensington Development Corporation from January 1, 2008 for a period of 99 years at an annual base rental of $1.6 million.
The Memorandum stated that the base rental shall be increased annually commencing January 1, 2009 by 2.5 percent and should be reviewed every three years and adjusted to reflect the average inflation rate for the three-year period provided the rate did not fall below 2.5 percent.
In the BCA’s Annual Report & Statement of Accounts April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, an independent auditor’s report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers stated: “As at March 31, 2017, the Association had a receivable of $11,481,704 due from Kensington Development Corporation (KDC). While management has indicated that the full receipt of the balance owed is expected, management has been unable to determine the period over which the outstanding amount will be collected.”
According to Riley, if the meeting between the Prime Minister, Minister of Sports and the BCA takes place he will not be raising the money owed to BCA by KDC but it is a matter that must be discussed between the two parties in the future.
“We have several challenges that we hope to sit down some time in the future with the Government. We are owned around $15 million out of the deed of lease between the BCA, BTII and KDC and certainly we cannot continue like this, so at a later date we would like to discuss the money that is due for the payment of the lease and several other matters in relation to Kensington Oval with the Government,” Riley said.
He stressed it was the opinion of the BCA that Kensington Oval could be utilised as a multipurpose stadium but a window for cricket would be left open as stated in the lease.
Riley said if this was done the BCA could fit all of the other events that currently take place at Kensington Oval into their schedule.
Last year the outfield at Kensington looked in terrible condition at the start of the first-class season. In November, the BCA began rehabilitation work on the grounds, and as a result they now look in pristine condition. Riley has no fear that the outfield will resort to the condition it was in 2017 when he publicly said it looked like a “potato field”.
“Once the Test match against Sri Lanka has ended, the Crop Over events should not hamper us. After Crop Over we should have enough time to get the Oval in shape for the first-class season and the English tour which starts early next year. We would like to have England on the island for the ten-day warm-up period, the four-day game and the first Test match,” Riley explained.
“We should have time between Crop Over and early January to get Kensington Oval in good condition, there is also a reggae show held in December, but that should not affect us at all. Once we can have fruitful discussions with the stakeholders we can look forward to having an Oval that will be in prime condition and one that hosts other events not related to cricket,” Riley said.