Grenadians may never get to know the budget for the first ever Grenada Invitational track and field meet as the main organisers of the April 8th event continue to remain tight-lipped about the cost involved.
The face of the Grenada Invitational, New York-based Sports Journalist, Michael Bascombe, and local Promoter Dexter Mitchell were both hostile to the local media last week Thursday as they sought to find out about the budget for the games.
The hostility of the two came during a sponsors’ presentation and media conference at Venus Restaurant and Bar on Wall Street in Grand Anse, St. George’s.
In response to a question asked by THE NEW TODAY Editor, Wayne Modeste about the budget, Mitchell said, “the Grenada Invitational is a private event… we are in a position (to say the budget) but we’re not going to because it is a private event.”
When asked by Senior Information Officer at the Government Information Service, Trevor Thwaites if it is not the right of the general public to know how much money is being offered as prizes to the top winners, Mitchell simple said: “The prize structure is not determined by us, it is determined by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations). Again, let me repeat, it is a private event… we do not think that we have an obligation to make the cost of the Invitational public.”
Although it is said that the Grenada Invitational is privately owned, massive support is being given by the ruling New National Party (NNP) Government of Grenada.
Mitchell disclosed that up to the time of the sponsors’ presentation and media conference, almost five thousand tickets have already been sold, and no member of the General Public has asked any member of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) about the cost of the games.
“I don’t think there is a general concern out there about the cost of the Invitational… The cost of the games doesn’t have anything to do with the public, and even if it was a concern they would have waited on you (the media) to get that information from us before they invested in five thousand tickets,” the organiser said with a sarcastic look on his face.
The press was advised that media accreditation will be done according to IAAF Guidelines.
Bascombe indicated that the only way in which the local media will be able to give justice to the coverage of the Grenada Invitational is if they ensure that they compliment it with coverage of the local track and field schools sports.
Twenty-five local businesses are already on board giving support to the inaugural games that will take place at the Grenada Athletics and Football Stadium that is to be renamed the “Kirani James Stadium” on the day of the games.
Republic Bank (Grenada) Limited has announced that it is providing $25,000 to help with the hosting of the games.
Manager, Retail Services at the bank, Devon Thornhill who made the announcement said the bank believes it is a worthwhile event.
Thornhill said Republic Bank will also be providing merchant services at the stadium during the games where patrons will be able to access cash and make purchases from its point of sale platform using their credit card.
Thornhill stated that Republic Bank has an enviable record of supporting the development of the youth through the discipline of sports.
“While some may see this event as a world class entertainment or an opportunity to boost our economy, at Republic Bank we see it as an opportunity to propel our youth forward to give them motivation going forward,” he remarked.
The bank official said his institution believes that showcasing the talent of some of the most successful world-class athletes, Republic Bank is providing the youth with impetus to emulate that as a role model.
The Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA), which has developed a relationship with the Grenada Invitational, has committed itself in having the athletes arrive in Grenada in time for the games.
Marketing Manager of the association, Francine Stewart promised that they will put Grenada on display for both the international athletes and visitors.
She stated that most people are not aware that Grenada has world-class facilities like the stadium.
The GTA Marketing Manager said one of its goals is to promote and develop year-round signature events on the island, which will help to promote Grenada as a destination island.
“The (Grenada) Invitational is now a signature event of ours, and we are using it to promote Grenada,” she added.
Manager of Netherlands Insurance, Richard Strachan, whose company is also on board as a sponsor said the business believes that it should not just benefit from national development, but also contribute to national development.
Strachan indicated that Netherlands Insurance is pleased to be the official sponsor of the opening and closing ceremonies of the games.
Another of the sponsors is GLENELG Natural Spring Water, and its representative Emrol Phillip indicated that as a corporate citizen, the company is interested in national development, with special interest in culture and sports, health and education.
He said as the Grenadian Community has made GLENELG the number one choice of spring water, giving back is always important to the company.
Powerade, which is a brand of the Grenada Bottling Company, is the official sports drink of the Grenada Invitational.
Representative, Nikoyan Bain stated that with Powerade being the official sports drink of the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil, it is felt that it is only right that Powerade become a part of the Grenada Invitational.
Bascombe who is the brainchild behind the Grenada Invitational gave an indication of the line-up of participants in some of the events.
The women’s 100M hurdles will showcase at least four finalists from the Rio Olympics including the Gold and Bronze Medalists.
The Gold, Silver and Bronze Medalists from the Pan-American Games will all compete against each other in the women’s high jump.
Bascombe said a number of the international athletes who are representing other countries have Grenadian connection.
It is estimated that just over one hundred athletes will be at the games.
Bascombe announced that the Local Organising Committee of the Grenada Invitational has collaborated with the Grenada Secondary Schools Games Association (GSSGA) to have some of the international athletes participate in the Inter-collegiate Games that will be held over a three-day period – April 3rd, 4th and 5th.
It is expected that some of the athletes will begin arriving in Grenada on April 2nd, and most of them will be hosted at the Radisson Beach Hotel at Grand Anse, St. George’s.
The Grenada Invitational is the first track and field meet of the 2017 outdoor season for the international athletes.
It commences at 2:00 p.m. with local field events, and at 2:15 p.m. the track events will begin.
This will be followed by the official opening ceremony at 5:00 p.m.
The international events start at 6:00 p.m. and closes with the women and male international 400m.