Heaven thinks cricket on course for success
WHITEHOUSE, Westmoreland -- Rraising just under $30 million in the first 100 days since taking the reins of the Jamaica Cricket Association last year is one of the many achievements of which JCA President Wilford 'Billy' Heaven can be proud.
At Saturday night's glitzy launch of the Westmoreland Cricket Association's Twenty20 competition at Sandals Whitehouse, Heaven, who was making his first official appearance in the parish of his birth since assuming office, said his executive had achieved a lot since taking office and were well on their way to delivering on what they promised during the run up to the elections.
Meanwhile, three cricket stalwarts from the parish were also recognised. They were former West Indies Test player Chester Watson, Cleveland 'Danny' Kedoo, who was president of the Westmoreland Cricket Association for 26 years, and Norman 'Mr Cricket' Jackson, who has served the sport in the parish for 28 years in various capacities.
Heaven, who was supported by most of his executive members at the event, said at the March 5 observance of the first 100 days in office, his team had started on their way to fulfilling "the promises to stakeholders when we put ourselves up for election".
While he said the JCA had been put on a firmer financial foundation, he said getting floodlights to Sabina Park to facilitate night games was still a sore point with many watchers of the game.
After the embarrassment of Jamaica being the only franchise not being able to host night games in last year's inaugural Caribbean T20, Heaven said "we are working on lights for Sabina Park", but pointed out he was not the person to speak to that at the moment.
"This is the most asked question these days, everywhere I go I am asked when is light coming to Jamaica," he said. "Lights will come to Sabina Park, but at this stage there is not much that I can say; we have to observe protocol as given the involvement of government, in due course an announcement will be made by the right people at the right time."
He also said the incident where former West Indies fast-bowling great and JCA official Ambassador Courtney Walsh was refused entry to Sabina Park by a security guard would not be repeated as they have put processes in to place.
"We have provided uniforms (for our staff) and out in dress codes; identification cards for both directors and staff have been issued," he said. "No more will a director and a past executive or administrator of the JCA be locked out of Sabina Park."
Heaven said they had "successfully negotiated with the West Indies Cricket Board to disburse funds directly to JCA", bringing an end to disbursements to a third party organisation to be spent on behalf of the JCA.
Additionally, he said the JCA had filed an income tax return for the first time in 16 years and they had put in place a JCA email address system for directors and staff.
The JCA had also secured sponsorship for two young cricketers to the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus in Barbados through the Sports Development Foundation and had put in place a players' development committee.