The National Cricket Stadium at Queen’s Park is almost ready to facilitate the first ever Test Match to be played at the venue between England and the West Indies next week, Minister of Sports, Emmalin Pierre announced at Tuesday’s post-Cabinet Press Briefing held at the Ministry of Works Conference room at the Ministerial Complex.
Minister Pierre told reporters that the organising committee, which she chairs has put a lot of emphasis in the organisation to ensure the success of hosting the April 21-25 test match.
During the press conference, the media was informed that the field is still under preparation with particular emphasis being placed on the wicket.
Minister Pierre said she is really pleased with the preparations that have been made at the stadium to facilitate the playing of the match.
“I want to commend the Ground staff at the Cricket stadium for what I would brand as a transformation and we have been given very high ratings as it relates to what we have achieved,” she remarked.
In making reference to moving the recent INTERCOL track and field meet among secondary schools from Queen’s Park to Progress Park in St. Andrew, the female government minister stressed that both Government and the Ministry of Sports took the right decision to move all activities from the Stadium to other venues around the island.
“I want to assure, had we not taken that decision we may have been discussing this morning if we would be able to host the cricket games in the next week,’ she said.
“As it relates to the readiness of the facility – of course you know the stadium was constructed just over 8 years ago and we would have had a technical agreement with the Government and People of China and some repair work has taken place over the years. Of course not everything as it relates to repairs is contained within that technical agreement and so in preparation for the games we would have had to solicit the additional support from the local Chinese embassy here,” she added.
Minister Pierre disclosed that additional work is being done at the back of the stadium.
“You would notice that the road there has been paved and again this is work that probably has not been done for maybe the past 8 years and we are using this opportunity to upgrade the road leading to the cricket stadium. There is some work to be done towards the front end,” she said.
The senior government minister also used the occasion to highlight the role to be played during the test match by the Ministry of Health.
“The Ministry of Health is on board although there is a doctor that is specifically assigned for the games, the Ministry of Health is going to provide significant support because we do have to be prepared in the event that there is some unexpected incident or disaster or anything (so) that health-wise we are ready and we are equipped to take care – not just of our own but the thousands of visitors that we expect,” Minister Pierre said.
According to the Minister, 2000 visitors are expected on the island for the match and she encouraged locals to buy their tickets early because everything is in place to host the test.
“Tickets are on sale – we received confirmation that over 15000 tickets have been sold and of course we are anticipating that those figures will climb in the next couple days”, said Minister Pierre.
“…We anticipate we will have thousands of visitors here… we want to encourage our locals to take in front and let us get our tickets as early as possible. We do not want persons to complain that our visitors are getting the better seats and our visitors are taking in front,” she added.
Tickets price range between 15- 30 dollars depending on seating location at the facility.
Persons 65 years and over can walk into the office at the National Stadium and upon presentation of proper identification will receive a free ticket for the test match.
In addition, children from ages 2 to 12 can receive tickets at half price once accompanied by an adult.