The Government's mystifying approach to next year's T20 Cricket World Cup
A section of Sabina Park cricket ground in Kingston, Jamaica.

It's been 16 years, but many Jamaicans readily recall the 2007 50-over Cricket World Cup when this country proudly hosted six first-round games, one semi-final, warm-up matches, and a grand opening ceremony at the then brand new Trelawny Stadium, overlooking Falmouth.

It was an expensive venture. The Government of the day spent in excess of US$100 million on the 25,000-seater Trelawny Stadium, a massive upgrade of historic Sabina Park, and related off-field infrastructure.

There were doubts and strong criticism. But, in our view, back then and to this day, Jamaica, with its rich cricket heritage dating back more than a century, would have struggled to hold its head high had it abdicated its responsibilities to the regional game.

Furthermore, the benefits of new, modern stadia in a country with at least half the population of cricket-playing countries in the Caribbean were there for all to see.

In 2010, three years later, Jamaica struggling to battle its way out of the destructive 2008/09 global financial crisis declined the opportunity to host games in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) T20 World Cup.

Guyana, St Lucia, and Barbados were the host nations that year. Such had been the impact on the local economy including collapse of the bauxite/alumina industry as a result of the global crash that there was hardly a murmur of opposition to the Government's stance at the time. Jamaicans understood.

Current dismay at news that our Government failed to meet deadlines to bid for next year's T20 World Cup scheduled for the Caribbean and the USA is largely driven by the reality that this country has recovered admirably from the economic ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke have repeatedly boasted with full justification, we believe about the Government's management of the post-COVID economic recovery, not least in regard to the much-improved debt-to-GDP ratio.

We note word from Minister of Sport Ms Olivia Grange late Wednesday that the Government is considering making a bid to host World Cup matches next year and sees the benefits of doing so, but is "matching that against the tremendous cost involved".

That cost, according to Ms Grange, amounting to over $450 million, includes the estimated cost to bid for and host a few matches, as well as infrastructure upgrades to match and practice venues.

We are puzzled, though, by the silence of the Government over a period of months since the Jamaica Cricket Association presented documents in furtherance of a proposed bid in mid-year.

We are left to wonder when, if ever, we would have heard from the Government had this newspaper not broken the story earlier this week that, while seven regional countries had bid to host games, Jamaica had not, despite deadlines being extended twice since May.

Indeed, given the obvious bewilderment of the minister responsible for information, Mr Robert Morgan, when asked by journalist Miss Kimone Francis at this week's post-Cabinet press conference about the situation, we wonder if the matter even went to Cabinet.

Now we hear that there may be a "window of opportunity" for a scrambling Jamaican Government to make a bid after all.

We wait.

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