Sport

Promise delivered

Indian gov’t completes US$2.1-m Sabina light grant

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, July 11, 2014    

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THE Government of Jamaica yesterday received the final US$1.33 million of a US$2.1-m grant promised by their Indian counterparts to assist with the installation of lights at the Sabina Park venue.

The presentation was made during a courtesy call by HK Mohan, the chargé d'affaires at the Indian High Commission, on Minister with Responsibility for Sport Natalie Neita-Headley at Jamaica House.

Neita-Headley, in accepting the cheque, thanked the Government of India "wholeheartedly" for keeping "their commitment".

Alluding to the numerous months of painstaking negotiations involving several different parties, she continued: "I'm extremely excited today. India have come through. This is a process that started approximately two years ago."

The Indian government had made a first payment of US$0.77 million in April.

The total value of the work is projected at US$2.7 million, but the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) will plug the US$600,000 shortfall.

HK Mohan, who filled in due to the absence of India's High Commissioner to Jamaica Pratap Singh, brought greetings from the Asian country's government and said the US$2.1-million gift is to facilitate the "enhancement of sport for the people of Jamaica".

Additionally, the Indian High Commission has said that the partnership for the light installation is aimed at strengthening the economic and commercial co-operation between both countries.

The grant reflects the emergence of the Asian country, which has a population of over 1.2 billion people, as a quickly growing economic power.

The state-run Urban Development Corporation (UDC) is the manager of the project, while the FosRich Group of Companies is the contractor. FosRich has been working with Philips Lighting, an international firm with substantial links in Europe, Asia and South America.

The construction is scheduled to end later this month.

Considerable controversy has long surrounded the absence of artificial lights at Sabina Park, though the country disbursed over US$100 million for its part in the region's hosting of the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

The inability to host night matches at Sabina Park was highlighted during the inaugural Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 (T20) competition in 2013.

And many hoped Sabina Park would be outfitted with lights in time for the 2014 Limacol CPL, but the deadline adherence will not matter in that regard since the competition's organisers have scheduled only daytime matches for Kingston, citing the success of international television viewership of games at the venue last season.

The CPL begins today and is set to end on August 16.

Sabina Park is slated to host matches on July 31, August 2 and August 3.

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