THE West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is confident the Sabina Park ground in Kingston will have lights installed in time to host matches in the much-heralded Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 tournament.
The CPL, funded by Ajmal Khan's Barbados and United States-based merchant bank Verus International, announced that Jamaica, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana and St Lucia are the front-running territories from which they will choose franchise teams.
The organisers also announced that other countries are on standby in the event that talks break down with the main targets.
Of those territories, Jamaica remain the only one without lighting facilities — a requirement for hosting matches — but WICB vice-president Whycliffe 'Dave' Cameron believes the famed Sabina Park will have the necessary infrastructure to meet the July 29 to August 26 staging of the competition.
"At this moment the JCA (Jamaica Cricket Association) have been in discussion with the ministries of tourism and sports and a number of agencies that support those ministries. It (getting the lights in time) can be done and in another week or two there should be an announcement," Cameron told the Jamaica Observer shortly after the CPL's official launch on Tuesday at the Sandy Lane Country Club in Barbados.
The WICB vice-president revealed that the installation could take 22 weeks to be completed, but insisted that a temporary measure could be put in place in the likely event that the CPL deadline is not met.
"One of the quotes suggested 22 weeks from confirmation to installation of lights. There is also a temporary solution so you could ship in the lights and have them on trucks and when the tournament is over the lights can be put up permanently," he said.
"I think they (JCA) are very close to tying down the funding. It will not be totally supported by Government ... they are also getting private sector involved," he continued, while estimating the installation budget at US$1.7m.
Cameron, who hails from Jamaica, explained that he has been working closely with the local body to provide a "sustainable business plan" that encompasses the means by which the loan repayment will be done.
"We have asked for a generous repayment period of about 20 years. I'm not directly involved, but I've helped to put the whole package together. It's a very sustainable business plan put forward, so we are hoping that the (Jamaican) government may fund it, but repayments would come from the private sector and from funds generated from the Park itself.
"Sabina Park will be transformed from a cricket stadium to a multi-purpose facility. That's the only way things will work. It can't be that it is used only a few times per year (for cricket)," he reasoned.
Sabina was among a list of international venues renovated for the region's hosting of the 2007 ICC World Cup, but no artificial lights were installed, and despite talks of its implementation over the years, the lack of lighting has forced the country to be overlooked for staging night matches.