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Monday, April 02, 2007

Speed impressed with Guyana's efforts

International Cricket Cou-ncil's (ICC) Chief Executive, Malcolm Speed has congratulated Guyana for delivering its part of the International Cricket Council's 2007 Cricket World Cup (CWC) competition.

Speaking at a media briefing yesterday at the Prov-idence Stadium, Speed said: "I would like to congratulate Guyana on delivering its part of the Cricket World Cup. Your country has much to be proud of; you have achieved building this outstanding cricket ground in a very short period of time."

According to Speed when he came here two years ago, the site for the stadium was a patch of burnt bush and swamp but the Local Organising Committee (LOC) worked tirelessly to have the stadium ready for the mega-event.

"When I came here the cane fields were just cleared, the playing field was levelled and nothing at all was built. So in two years we have gone from cane fields to what looked to me like swamp land to an outstanding cricket ground," he observed.

Speed stated that Guyana should be proud of the achievement to have an international cricket venue adding that the efforts of the local volunteers had contributed to the success of the Guyana leg of the Super Eights so far.

"One of the things that have impressed me is the enthusiasm of the volunteers. All around the Caribbean volunteers have been called into action for the cricket World Cup competition but your volunteers here have been outstanding." Speed thanked the government for its commitment to CWC stating that he was aware of the short time-frame the ICC attributed for completion of the facility.

"We are very pleased and I think that what you have done here should make the people of Guyana very proud of this achievement. I know Mr Lockerbie made some comments and I endorse them fully," Speed said.

Venue Development Dir-ector and Chief Operating Officer for ICC CWC 2007, Donald Lockerbie, had said in a media briefing on Wednesday that the ICC went ahead with Guyana as a host venue on a commitment from Government to be ready.

"Here we are, finished and we are happy about that," Lockerbie had said on Wednesday. Speed was similarly buoyant about the country's readiness and handling of the various concerns that arose out of the construction of the venue. Asked about the imposition of the ICC on the culture of the Caribbean's cricketing community by preventing certain items from being taken into the venues, Speed said that he heard the comment before and felt that it may have been interpreted incorrectly.

"I have heard that comment before but what we serve to do is follow an established protocol. Musical items can be brought into the ground but there is a certain protocol for that, we want the Caribbean and West Indian atmosphere to remain here," Speed informed.

Many West Indian patrons of CWC 2007 had expressed a concern over not being able to take certain items like tape recorders and food items into the venues for the World Cup but Speed explained that the prohibitions were merely security measures.

"The measures that are being introduced are security measures, they are common for major events in any part of the world, so that if you were to go to the Olympic Games you will find that very similar requirements are there," he noted.

Speed said that after the World Cup the region should be looking ahead to hosting the ICC Champion's Trophy tournament in 2010.

"What you have now is a collection of Five-Star cricket grounds. When you put them together you have a set of grounds that are as good as any in the world," the ICC Chief Executive observed.

Speed advised the local cricket board to work out bringing school children to the matches to have the experience of a World Cup cricket match and also occupy the vacant seats in the stadium.

He said that the event in the Caribbean may not pay off in full stadia for matches but in the fact that many other countries in the world will get to see the Caribbean via television.

"I was talking to some people from South Africa and I asked them what they think about Guyana and they told me Guyana looked great on camera," Speed said, while handing over the proceedings to Minister of Sport, Dr Frank Anthony.

Anthony indicated that the team that the Government put together had worked very hard to bring the stadium to what it was today. He said that he was very happy that they had done their part to host the event.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Local Organising Committee (LOC), Karan Singh, told the media that Speed expressed his desire to have the briefing to speak about his experiences in Guyana.

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