The cash-strapped New National Party (NNP) government is turning to the state-owned Grenada National Lotteries Authority (GNLA) to raise the funds that are needed to provide night lighting facilities at the Cricket stadium at Queen’s Park.
In making the announcement, Culture Minister, Senator Brenda Hood said that the lottery authority was given the green light by Cabinet to enter into negotiations with the Canadian Bank Note Limited to raise the funds for the stadium project.
Sen. Hood said that GNLA has managed to get approval for funding to the tune of $12 million from Canada Bank Note but did not give specific details of the arrangement being worked out.
The female government minister indicated that the Lotteries Authority is currently negotiating with the Bank of Nova Scotia the interest rate for the secured loan.
“It has been approved externally from a bank in Canada and very soon you will see that bids will be sent out. We have had over the past two months or so, some persons who have come in to look at the whole infrastructure to see what has to be done,” she told reporters.
There have been reports that the Canadian financial company has made offers in the past to acquire controlling interest in GNLA.
Sen. Hood disclosed that some of the monies from Canada Bank Note will be used by government to engage in other infrastructural work on the island.
The Central Government is hard-pressed to borrow money on the international market due to the island’s heavy indebtedness.
The Keith Mitchell-led administration in St. George’s has been forced into a Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) that is closely monitored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Sen. Hood told reporters that the contract from the funds has already been signed by Canadian Bank Note and the Lotteries Authority.
“This $12 million will be used for the lighting of the National Stadium and a portion of it will be used for other projects throughout the length and breadth of the country”, she said.
“…I am happy that this is happening because what it’s going to do is give us the opportunity now for us to bid for evening and night games which we couldn’t do before and in doing so…once we comply and we get the bid that we requested, you will see that there will be games in the evening time and also there will be a positive economic impact on the economy,” she added.
The minister announced that once the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) accepts the standards for the lights, the actual lights will be installed at the stadium facility.
According to Sen. Hood, the lack of night lighting facilities at the Cricket Stadium has put Grenada at the disadvantage in hosting regional and international night games.
The stadium was rebuilt for Grenada by Mainland China after Hurricane Ivan left it in ruins in September 2004.