Sport

Stakeholders optimistic of July deadline for Sabina lights

Friday, July 11, 2014    

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STAKEHOLDERS are confident that the July deadline will be met for the light installation project at the Sabina Park cricket ground.

Work on the estimated US$2.7-million project, which is managed by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), began in April and is scheduled to end later this month.

Over the years, budget overruns and lack of adherence to initial deadlines for numerous local construction projects have been commonplace.

But Natalie Neita-Headley, the minister with responsibility for sport, gave a thumbs up to the management of the project thus far.

"I'm satisfied with the work of the contractors based on the reports which I've received from the UDC," she said yesterday.

"All of the outstanding matters are now in place in terms of importation of certain items and they are now here. I think it's just a matter now of completing the project within the time stipulated, and I think we will."

When asked about the possibility of the original budget being exceeded, Neita-Headley added:

"There has been close monitoring. There are no expectations for overruns. I wouldn't speak definitively that there will be none, but there are no expectations for over-runs at this time. We are on schedule and on budget."

The minister insisted that the constant devaluing of the Jamaican dollar will not affect the project cost since importation of materials has already been completed.

The FosRich Group of Companies are the contractors for the project. They will be working with Philips Lighting, a global firm that has strong ties in Europe, Asia and South America.

Milton Samuda, the chairman of Sabina Park Holdings, the entity which manages the venue and its facilities, also expressed optimism that the managers of the operation and the contractors are on track to meet the project deadline.

"It's progressing on schedule. We are very pleased with the work that is being led by the Urban Development Corporation. As everything stands, we expect that the lights will be installed and fully commissioned in accordance with the original time frame, which is the end of July. So far we are on schedule, thank God," Samuda told the Jamaica Observer.

In April, the governments of India and Jamaica signed a memorandum of understanding which saw the Asian country providing a grant of US$2.1 million towards the installation of lights at the Sabina Park venue.

Yesterday, the final instalment of US$1.33 million was handed over by the Indian government after the initial payment of US$0.77 million was made in April.

The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has granted a further US$600,000 to fill the gap in the total project value.

The gift from India — a country with a population of over 1.2 billion people -- indicates their rapid rise as an economic giant.

Word from the Indian High Commission in Jamaica is that the collaboration is part of a move to further solidify commercial co-operation between both countries.

— Sanjay Myers

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