The ownership issue has been making headlines, with Marshall quoted as saying the BCA owned the famous cricket ground and Government stating it was majority owner by virtue of its heavy investment (over $100 million) in the Oval for the recent Cricket World Cup (CWC).Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Clyde Mascoll said once the ownership issue was settled, the next step would be getting a company to “manage, market, promote” Kensington Oval.
Minister of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports Anthony Wood reported that Government wanted to speedily “bring closure” to the ownership negotiations so it could get on with its plans for the Oval.
Just when we thought that enough had been said and written about CWC 2007, “bruggadung” another controversy erupts. Can anyone imagine that the government of Barbados expended over 125 million dollars to build Kensington Oval on land which belongs to the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA)? The public would have been in the dark about this matter if Tony Marshall while hosting Barbados favourite call-in program “Down to Brass Tacks” in response to a caller stated that the BCA owned the Oval. Truth be told now that the facts are in the public domain a lay person would have to admit that maybe legally Tony Marshall is correct. The fact that the government proceeded with haste to build the multi-million dollar complex on land owned by a private members club is incompetence of the highest magnitude. It goes without saying that in a private sector scenario “heads would be rolling”. Talking about heads did anyone hear our Minister of Sport speaking out during the CWC 2007? I must say that he is one of the most silent ministers we have had for a while. One would have thought that the CWC would have been the ideal stage for a Minister of Sport to step forward. Any way we will leave Minister Wood for another time.
After Tony Marshall made the pronouncement that the Oval is currently owned by the BCA, PM Arthur obviously took umbrage and launched a scathing attack on Tony Marshall and the BCA. Some might say that if by Arthur’s own admission the BCA and the Barbados Tourism Investment Incorporation (BTII) on behalf of government are currently negotiating a solution which involves jointly managing the Oval, then his public chiding of the BCA, and its visible president was unwarranted, and lacked a proper exercise in emotional intelligence. However BU understands that general elections is around the corner and most issues will be politicized to jockey for political advantage. Perhaps this is even more so in the aftermath of CWC 2007 which appears from general feedback not to have met the expectations of the Barbadian public.
The current state of this mess easily suggests that the government dropped the ball and a transaction which could have been closed with the BCA when the Oval was rubble and which would have forced the BCA to close the deal, now has the potential of being protracted. BU says protracted because we have attended BCA meetings in the past and know the characters who are bound to exit the wood work at the opportunity to grandstand and pontificate on this issue when it is eventually tabled; as it must at a BCA general meeting. For those who had the opportunity to hear David Thompson give his views on the CWC on the program “Opening Pair” this morning, it was very insightful indeed. By my timing the interview spanned about 15 minutes and provided for quality radio.
BU does not need a CADRES poll to indicate that the Barbadian public is concerned that CWC may not yield the expected benefits. What time will have to manifest is how the issue will translate in support for the upsurging DLP at the polls. For some though is will be whether Marshall’s gnashing of swords with Arthur will see is demise like many before who have done do.
Chelsea draw with Barcelona 2-2…wins on aggragate….knocking out BARCI….and going thru to the UEFA Cup Finals…….