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The Arnos Vale Sports Complex on Sunday, APril 28, 2024.
The Arnos Vale Sports Complex on Sunday, APril 28, 2024.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is spending EC$38 million on its 2024 World Cup Cricket venue preparations, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says, adding that it is not US$50 million as Local Organising Committee member, Michael “Mike” Findlay said.

At a press conference in Kingstown on Monday, Findlay said that the scope of works had changed and the budget had increased by some US$10 million.

“It was about 40 million US dollars in the beginning, at the start. And now it has gone to 50 million because we’re still doing and as we do, something will come up. The budget will be high. So we have to revise the budget,” Findlay said at a press conference held by the Carnival Development Corporation.

However, Gonsalves, speaking on the state-owned NBC Radio today (Wednesday), said the government is spending EC$38 million. 

“… the number is about $38 million EC. We began first with around $33 million. That was when we went to Parliament first. But the cost of items have gone up and we altered the scope of works in one important area,” the prime minister said on a programme on which Findlay was a host.

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Gonsalves said four above-ground swimming pools are being installed in the areas where the bleachers used to be at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex, the venue of the games.

Ralph Gonsalves at parade
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves in an April 25, 2024 photo.

Meanwhile, responding to a question at Monday’s press briefing, Findlay said that the organising committee was “not within that budget because costs are rising every day”, referring to the original sum that the government had announced to the public.

He said that most of the quotations of “big price” items such as the lights change frequently. 

“If you get a quote last week, by the time we were to pay for it, it has gone up. We originally budgeted what? I think it is just under 40 million US dollars for the repairs and the upgrade. We’ve got to upgrade the entire facilities”.

He said the double-decker stand that was built for the 2007 Cricket World Cup warm-up games had not been completed.

“So we’ve got to complete that fully,” said Findlay, a former West Indies cricketer who was also involved in the 2007 Cricket World Cup LOC.

“We’ve got to do a lot of renovations on the players’ pavilion because there are a lot more players and management team involved now than there was in 2007,” he said.

Findlay said ice baths were installed and a lot of work was done on the upper deck where the private boxes were located at the Frank Thomas stand.

Work was also done on the Mike Findlay stand and the PH Veira Stand was “almost totally rebuilt…

“The wings that used to be there, the private boxes have been demolished because they had deteriorated very badly,” Findlay said.

The seats in those stands have been refurbished with some new ones added, as is the case in the double-decker stand.

The gym, which was previously located in the players’ pavilion has been relocated to the first floor of the double-decker stand. 

He said the swimming pool area will be an entertainment hub. 

Michael Findlay
Michael “Mike” Findlay, of the local organising committee speaking at a press conference in Kingstown on Monday, April 29, 2024.

The media centre has been refurbished, Findlay said.

He said security is going to be “very high” though “not as high as 2007” when the security officers looked at all the hills around Arnos Vale “where snipers could be to ensure that … there are no incidents, as far as that is concerned. 

“We’ve got to look at the question of insurance, public liability insurance, that is extremely high. That’s probably about 5 million US dollars,” Findlay said.

“And the things that we don’t normally look at in an average cricket match, we’ve got to look at it in this game.”

He said that ambulances have to be provided at all the venues including the practice venues. 

“So even though a team is practising at Arnos Vale 2, you must provide an ambulance in case anything happens,” Findlay said.

“You’re going to take people and take them out. You got to think of situations where suppose something happens and we don’t have the facilities here in St. Vincent, you have to be on the ball and have arrangements made to airlift them from here to nearest places. That’s the level that we’re talking about.” 

“It was about 40 million US dollars in the beginning, at the start. And now it has gone to 50 million.  Because we’re still doing and as we do, something will come up. The budget will be high. So we have to revise the budget.