CHALLENGER for the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) presidency, Milton Henry, has boldly declared that floodlights will be installed at Sabina Park in time for next season's Caribbean Premier League (CPL) competition.
Henry, speaking during the launch of his campaign manifesto, stressed the importance of having night matches played at Jamaica's premier cricket venue as part of the planned thrust to develop sports tourism.
"Let's not kid ourselves, the matter of lights and the business plan for Sabina Park is central to cricket moving forward.
"We have to look at sports tourism," he said at the Liguanea Club last Wednesday.
"I believe we can say positively that we are moving forward and the JCA is leading the effort to ensure that come CPL next year...lights will be at Sabina Park. Hold me accountable for that," added the JCA's incumbent first vice-president.
The lack of lights at Sabina Park has been a vexing issue since the failure to put in the infrastructure for the region's hosting of the 2007 ICC World Cup and the matter was brought into sharp focus during the inaugural CPL staged recently.
In May of this year, the outgoing association president Lyndel Wright announced that Sabina Park Holdings, the entity which manages the venue and its facilities, had a partnership with a financier and contractor for the project.
But three weeks later, the deal collapsed and matches in Jamaica were irksomely forced to start early afternoon instead of during prime time television hours.
The Jamaica Tallawahs won the CPL tournament, but the organisers have hinted that the nation could lose the franchise if lights are not installed for the second edition of the Twenty20 (T20) event.
Nigel Logan, the board director with responsibility for spearheading the light initiative, was cautious when questioned on the matter.
"The board of Sabina Park Holdings is actively working on bringing lights to Sabina Park and has made significant progress towards that project.
"We don't want to get into timeline just yet because right now discussions and negotiations are at a sensitive stage. We are definitely working on it with alacrity," Logan said.
When pressed further, he said a "a non-disclosure agreement has been signed" with a bidder and "both parties agreed not to talk" until a concrete partnership has been tied up.
Logan, who is also the JCA treasurer, revealed that a recent development involving a possible shift in the CPL tournament dates could shorten the time available for the implementation of lights.
"CPL wants to move from August to the first quarter of next year but the WICB (West Indies Cricket Board) would have to decide on that," he added.
In the meantime, Henry, while unveiling the members of his executive slate, said that if elected his administration will be focusing on development of players and officials, marketing and public relations, the upgrade of facilities, and also the welfare of the clubs, parishes and associations.
His campaign theme is 'Building Jamaica's Cricket Through Sustained Partnerships'.
Aside from sports tourism, the JCA vice-president said an adopt-a-player scheme and the increased signing of memorandum of understandings, are some of the other initiatives being looked at to ensure the growth of the sport.
Henry, an engineer by profession, is expected to run against CHASE Fund chief executive officer William 'Billy' Heaven for local cricket's top job.
The individuals on Henry's ticket are Major Radcliffe Daley for first vice-president; South West St Ann member of parliament Keith Walford for second vice-president; Logan for treasurer; Mark Hill for assistant treasurer; Junior Stewart for secretary, and Major Marlon Kennedy for assistant secretary.
Heaven told the Jamaica Observer on Saturday that his slate will be made official in "two weeks or less".
The JCA's annual general meeting and the election of its new executive is likely to be held in November, dependent on the association's financials being completed.