Opening of Brian Lara Stadium today …’BIG BILL FOR GOVERNMENT’

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The Brian Lara Stadium is set to be formally opened this evening.

Cricket supporters are lapping up the $100 tickets for an exhibition game between Brian Lara’s XI and an International XI to be played at the controversial billion dollar stadium.

The stadium has taken ten years to be completed and the corruption associated with the construction is still much alive.

While the country  is reeling over a so-called recession, the Government is paying the full cost of the opening of the stadium. That means paying for the airfare and accommodation of all the international and Caribbean legends who will be coming in for the match.

But one man is not going to the game. Opposition MP Barry Padarath says the stadium has not received approval from the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Responding to an urgent question from Padarath in Parliament on Thursday, Sports Minister Daryl Smith said ICC approval was only required for international games.

He said while today’s game would involve international players, it was not an international game and therefore needed no ICC approval.

Smith stressed however that Government had begun the process of seeking ICC approval and was working with the WICB in this regard. “Jimmy Adams (director of West Indies Cricket) was here, he was very pleased and that process (of getting ICC approval) should be completed by July,” he said.

The Minister said Government had written to CPL (Caribbean Premier League Cricket) to host the finals of the international cricket tournament.

Smith said he was happy to see that the UNC was all of a sudden interested in the Brian Lara Stadium. He said the UNC-led Government allowed that facility, which was 95 per cent complete when they took office, “to rot”, equipment worth millions of dollars to be stolen in the process.

But in a press statement on Thursday, Padarath said  there were concerns that the stadium was in contravention of the International Cricket Council laws and that further works would have to be done to conform to these laws.

Padarath said neither UDECOTT nor the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs have advised the national community on what specific measures were put in place to deal with the issues identified in the MC Cafferey report, which informed the UFF commission of inquiry that states that two sets of independent tests were done on the welds of the Brian Lara Stadium and it failed the requisite standards.

Padarath called for the cancellation of the opening as a result of the accreditation and safety issues.

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