Government and the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) are currently holding discussions that could lead to the management of Kensington Oval returning to the BCA, says president of the BCA Conde Riley.
When Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced the Barbados Economic Recovery Transformation programme (BERT) last October, she hinted that the management of the Kensington Oval which is vested in Kensington Oval Development Corporation would be returned to the BCA.
Since the Prime Minister’s announcement, nothing has been made public about the progress between the Government and the BCA on the matter. But according to Riley discussions have been taking place between the two parties.
“We are currently in discussions with the Government in relation to the management of Kensington Oval returning to the BCA. It is just a matter of working things out in accordance with the deal of lease that we would have signed in 2008. It is a work in progress. The Prime Minister’ statement last October was made in relation to the BERT programme. Since then, we have met with White Oak about the money owed to the BCA by the Government. We had to submit our Financial Report for five years to them along with a business plan, and we have done so. There were two issues that called for qualified opinions from our auditors and we settled both of them. So it is a matter of meeting with the Government and the BCA outlining our vision for Barbados,” Riley said.
While he could not say when the next meeting between the Government and the BCA would take place, he revealed his organisation had big plans for the Oval as soon as it was returned to them.
“We have big plans for the Oval but we cannot proceed with them until we are in control. I would love to see the indoor practice facility built along with restaurants and a small boutique and hotel at the venue. We have the brains on the BCA’s Board and among our membership that would allow us to do these things. It cost us to prepare the business plan but we did. I have no doubts that under my leadership all of these plans will become a reality, “ the president said.
He stressed that under his leadership the BCA had a record of getting things done and alluded to a dispute between the BCA and lottery operators CAGE which lasting for over ten years before it was settled during his first term as president of the BCA.
“We are about getting things done for the benefit of Barbados’ cricket. The ideals we outlined in our business plan would add a new dimension to our cricket and take it to a new level. It is my intention to try my utmost to see these plans come to fruition when Kensington Oval is returned to us,” Riley said.
The president said the building of an indoor facility at Kensington was a priority for the BCA. He explained that such a facility would stop net practice from being a victim of the weather and could generate income for the BCA.
“We want to make our indoor facility a first-class venue that will generate revenue, we would like to market it at as a place that the English counties can use for practice during their winter, but we cannot do so if they are constraints due to the weather,” he explained.
Riley revealed that the former Barbados and West Indies left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn was now a member of the coaching staff at the Centre of Excellence and plans were afoot to contract the services of Dr Kevin Williams at the Centre to deal with sports medicine and science, as well as sports physiologist Rudy Alleyne.
“We hope that Kevin and Rudy enhance our programmes at the Centre of Excellence. I think these two gentlemen have a lot to offer to the development of our cricket. Another initiative that we are planning is contracting all of our cricketers from the Under-13 up. And in an effort to boost our women’s cricket programme we are seeking to have a girl included in each school team, “ Riley said.