$50m renovation on the cards for Kensington Oval

Government will be borrowing BDS $50 million from Afreximbank to renovate Kensington Oval ahead of its hosting of matches in the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley made the announcement on Monday at the second AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2023 (ACTIF23) in Guyana when she expressed her gratitude to the African Import and Export Bank for the “highly competitive and highly appropriate’” loan which will be repayable over a seven-year period and has a seven per cent interest rate.

“Very shortly we will sign a loan to be able to refurbish Kensington Oval,” she began. “Recognising that as the third most iconic cricket ground globally (behind Lords and the Melbourne Cricket Ground), we need to be able to do urgent refurbishment with the Cricket World Cup coming. In addition, we are not only borrowing to refurbish, we are borrowing also for the development of the game and the establishment of indoor facilities and other things to help our cricketers move to the next level.”

The Cricket World Cup starts on June 4, 2024.

Mottley continued: “This region must give our cricketers the best available coaching and technology if they are truly to resume their global positioning in cricket. The reality is that others have come and done that which we have not done and then we complain and we wonder what the ‘fellas’ are doing and why they aren’t performing.

“If we in a Government understand the importance of deconstruction and reconstruction in order to make governance to the age in which we live, then surely we should be able to give our cricketers the tools to dissect and find details within the batting, bowling, fielding, not only during the practices of all of the people on their own team, but all of the people they will compete against on the field.”

Cricket is not the only sport to receive focus from the Prime Minister as Mottley stated that she believed the two regions must explore opportunities and awareness of the general population of Africa and the Caribbean in the areas of culture and sports.

“We must find a way for African football teams to play in the Caribbean and for Caribbean sides to play in Africa as a matter of urgency. We must find a way for road tennis to be a sport across every community in Africa and the Caribbean as we play it in Barbados. We must find a way for cricket, which we will dominate I hope, in the future again, and for which we still have the global excellence among our legends, to be able to go into those countries in Africa that have a taste for cricket. I know that Rwanda has expressed a desire for that level of support because they too understand that after the Olympics and football, cricket is the third largest global sporting event.”

This move to refurbish Kensington Oval will be the second time the 28 000-seater venue was modernised. In 2005, the Barbados Labour Party which was then led by the late Owen Arthur, borrowed BDS $200 million for the demolition of the old stands and redevelopment of the stadium ahead of the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

Next year’s T20 World Cup final will be the second time that the Kensington Oval has hosted the final of that competition. (JC)

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