Grenada will be hosting three games during the opening weekend of the Caribbean Premiere League (CPL) cricket tournament.
This was announced by both Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and Minister for Sports, Emmalin Pierre at a recent post-Cabinet press briefing.
Minister Pierre said Grenada would be hosting the first three games of the CPL series to be played in a number of regional venues.
According to the Sports Minister, the decision by Grenada to seek matches was made primarily on the premise of the success of the CPL last year and the economical possibilities that can open up for the island.
The matches listed for the Spice Isle Friday, July 11 to Sunday, July 13.
The Sunday game will see Jamaica taking on St. Lucia, which has on its team the Grenada, and West Indies one-day player, Andre Fletcher.
The minister said that St Lucia’s economy received a shot in the arm from the CPL games that were played in that territory last year with estimates of a 7.3% economic boost.
“We all know that there are over 36 million viewers of the games, 250,000 spectators and thousands of foreign visitors who come to the region to see the games. I’m stating this because we see the potential, we see the opportunity,” she remarked.
Minister Pierre told reporters that government’s decision to host some of the CPL matches in Grenada will open up additional opportunities for the country.
“We could not as a government sit by and allow this opportunity to pass bearing in mind the impact that it’s going to have on our tourism product in terms of promotion, bearing in mind the economic benefits that it’s going to bring to our vendors, our local people who are going to get an opportunity to increase their sales, increase their income and of course for the country in general,” she said.
“This gives us an excellent opportunity to showcase our ability to host regional and international matches of this nature but also very important, if you’ve been following, you would’ve noticed a number of our young cricketers have been excelling at the regional level. I believe this is also another opportunity through which we can motivate them,” she added.
The Sports Minister also used the occasion to announce that Grenada will be hosting two one-day matches, West Indies VS Bangladesh between August 20-22.
“I’m quite sure this is something our nation will be looking forward to not just for the fun and the excitement but looking forward to the economic benefits that are going to come to Grenada as a result,” she said.
During the press briefing, Prime Minister Mitchell disclosed that Grenada is preparing to bid to host one of the upcoming test matches between The West Indies and England later in the year.
However, Dr. Mitchell was very cautious about Grenada’s chances given the number of territories that were in the line-up to put forward bids.
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) had reportedly selected Grenada as one of the venues to hold England but was forced to re-open the bidding process due to pressures from other regional cricketing boards especially Barbados which was excluded from matches.
“It is not as certain as we would like it to be because we have to bid and of course the challenges we face financially in the country might be an impeding factor on our final success in that area,” said Prime Minister Mitchell.
The Prime Minister told reporters that if Grenada got one of the English matches then it will be a win-win situation for the country since it will result in many benefits to the island.
“As you know when the English team tours the Caribbean, there’s a lot … of English fans that follow them and therefore having a game here can have enormous importance on tourism arrival and economic activity,” he said.
Government officials have said that the English fans have started to make enquiries about the availability of thousands of rooms for accommodation.
Meanwhile, Sports Minister Pierre announced that due to the cricket opportunities that lie ahead for Grenada, the lighting of the cricket stadium is an absolute necessity and that a budget of $4 million have been allocated by government for the lighting of the stadium at Queen’s Park and the La Sagesse playing field in St. David’s.