Lights at Sabina at last... now to the Trelawny Stadium

Saturday, August 09, 2014

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THE 19th century German nation-builder Otto von Bismarck is credited with having first verbalised that 'politics is the art of the possible'.

As we reflect on the recent grand commissioning of lights at Jamaica's famous headquarters of cricket, Sabina Park, we are reminded of the much-quoted remark.

In a real sense, it explains how it is that Sabina Park is only now being made capable of hosting night cricket, seven years after being among the venues for the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup.

The Government of the day, let's not forget, spent in excess of US$100 million -- more than any other single Caribbean country -- on the hosting of that major event. That included well in excess of US$60 million on a near-total redo of Sabina Park and the building of the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium at Florence Hall just outside Falmouth.

Such was the hue and cry over Jamaica's spend on cricket's World Cup that it was considered politically suicidal for the then Government to even contemplate a further US$2 million to install lights for night cricket. That was so, even though those in the know recognised that, without lights, Sabina could not be considered a truly modern cricket stadium capable of maximising potential.

Jamaicans will be forever grateful to India -- that great nation and fast-growing economic power -- for its grant of US$2.1 million which made possible the now completed lighting project at Sabina.

This newspaper must also give credit to the Tourism Enhancement Fund for its contribution of $600,00 that reflects the belief that a properly developed and thriving Sabina Park will enhance Jamaica's tourism product. Credit also to the Urban Development Corporation for managing the project and to the contractors, FosRich Group of Companies, which partnered with Phillips Lighting for this project.

To the naysayers and cynics, we say that the lighting project at Sabina Park must not be seen in isolation. It is central to the grand design of redeveloping historic downtown Kingston for the greater good of all Jamaica.

We applaud Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) President Mr Wilford 'Billy' Heaven for saying clearly and out loud that the new Sabina must serve not just cricket and sport, but a wide spectrum.

"The only way we can justify this (lighting investment)... is if the park is used, not only for cricket, but for other events... for shows, for conventions, and other activities," Mr Heaven said.

We would suggest to the Ministry of Sport, the JCA, and all those with an interest in the development of sport, entertainment and tourism that attention must now be turned to the installation of lights at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium.

Those who dismissed it years ago as a white elephant built in the 'middle of nowhere' should go take a look. They will find the stadium on the fringe of large housing developments -- now home to hundreds, if not thousands of people -- reflective of the ongoing rapid economic growth on Jamaica's exotic north coast.

The Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium, like Sabina Park, is primed and ready to play its role for the greater good of the Jamaican people.




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