Lights on at renovated LBI cricket ground
- GCB eyes hosting of First-Class matches in two years
By Akeem Greene
Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud, on Wednesday evening flipped the switch to unveil the international standard lights at the renovated La Bonne Intention Community Centre ground, which is now under the control of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB).
Over the last two years, the East Coast Demerara facility has undergone tremendous restoration works with the ultimate aim to possibly host First-Class cricket in the next two years.
On Wednesday evening the GCB held a simple, but significant ceremony at the venue to signify its commitment to developing the facility, which also houses the Chetram Singh Centre of Excellence (indoor practice facility and dormitory).
GCB Secretary, Anand Sanasie indicated the vision was one which they have been working towards over the last 10 years and during the last five years they were able to acquire a 99-year lease from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
He indicated the playing area is in the first phase of development and the drainage can “challenge the stadium any day.”
There are plans to build a “state-of-the-art” Media Centre and a stage, along with a practice facility by the new players’ pavilion which will have six all-weather pitches, as they seek to reach international standards.
The northern end of the ground will be the main pavilion for seating and the hospitality boxes.
“In less than two years, the playing area was completed along with the installation of the LED lights, which still have to be focused by the engineer, which is expected to be done within a week,” the Secretary explained.
Minister Persaud in delight stated, “With the progress that has been promised with the new government, I see this as the beginning of great things for the future of cricket and other sporting events.”
She charged the officials to ensure the facility will not be only used for cricket, but it should be available for the entire community and hoped to see female teams being developed.
Dr. Persaud, who is also the head of Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, revealed that the ground has hosted the conclusion of annual Diwali motorcade for four decades and to see the vision of the ground realised is most pleasing.
Speaker of the National Assembly and President of the Everest Cricket Club, Manzoor Nadir, said: “I feel the future of cricket in Guyana is going to be competitive at many levels, I see attractive prizes, I see teams playing for 10 and 20 million dollars [and] this is not a dream; this is the future to me for cricket.”
He revealed a national First Division tournament will soon be launched with the winning purse close to G$1 million and that there are negotiations to have motorcar as the reward for the Most Valuable Player.
Nadir felt Guyanese should not only see local stars on television playing against top teams, but rather right here in Guyana at facilities of this nature.
He said Everest Cricket Club is looking to install international standard lights.
With the closure of the LBI Estate in 2010, Chief Executive Officer of GuySuCo, Sasenarine Singh, said it was difficult to upkeep the ground, which was established since 1918, and it is pleasing to see how much it has transformed over the years.
Singh added that GuySuCo will continue to support as they want this “success to be a greater success.”
After the ceremony, a 10/10 match was contested between Over-40 teams, West Demerara Masters and Jai Hind Masters.