Cricket World Cup Big Deal For Barbados, But Also Brings Security And Drugs Issues.

Image courtest of ICC. The ICC international T-20 tournament will start in Texas and finish in Barbados.
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The upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Cricket will offer  the Caribbean a global media platform to highlight its rich sporting culture, and perhaps pique the interest of future tourists, but it will also raise immediate  security issues that must be addressed.

That was the view of official Earl Harris, as he addressed the opening of the four-day Sub-regional Technical Expert Meeting on Enhancing Security Coordination for Major Sporting Events in the Caribbean.

Mr. Harris told the participants: “Amidst the excitement, we must remain vigilant against a range of potential threats to the safety and security of the event, which have the potential to singularly or collectively disrupt the event and pose risks to the safety of both participants and spectators alike, thereby damaging the region’s reputation.

“This reputation … we must guard jealously. Addressing these issues is not just important, it is essential to safeguarding the tournament’s integrity and preserving lives and livelihoods.”

Harris said the success of the games will, to a significant extent, hinge upon effective and efficient management and leadership by the Venue Operations Commanders in each participating state.

The ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup 2024 tournament starts on Saturday, June 1, in Dallas, Texas, USA, with the first Group Match, and will have its finale on Saturday, June 29, in Barbados with the finals.

In total fifty-five matches will be held at nine venues.

In recent years several locations in the Caribbean have upped the penalties for the introduction of guns and ammunition, often with ferocious penalties.

For example just last week St. Kitts and Nevis has approved the Firearms (Amendment) Bill, 2024, signalling a tough stance against illegal gun ownership and use in the Federation.

The Firearms (Amendment) Bill, 2024, introduces longer maximum sentences for firearm-related offences, with a maximum sentence of 40 years for possession of deadly weapons and a EC$500,000 fine for profiting from their sale.  These measures are intended to serve as a robust deterrent, says the government.

Barbados also introduced new gun laws in 2022, Section 30 allows for stiff penalties. For a first offence a convicted person could serve a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison, and for a second offence, a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

Cruise ship tourists in the Cayman Islands have been arrested this year on more than one occasion for possessing bullets that they claim were mistakenly left in backpacks, but now find themselves potentially facing sentences of up to 12 years in prison.

In his remarks, Head of Operations KJ Singh, remarked that drugs are also on the prohibited and restricted items for spectators (and players).

“We at the CWI take…anti-corruption and anti-doping very seriously and it is handed down from a regional mandate from the ICC.

“I would like to assure you that from our perspective we don’t take it lightly; the ICC doesn’t take it lightly, and we are looking forward to keeping this event in the Caribbean safe and drug free, with no corruption, based on the mechanisms that we are going to put in place through our CARICOM IMPACS partners, and also our VOC commanders, who this important meeting is tailored for,” Mr. Singh stated.

Describing the four-day meeting as “very timely”, High Commissioner for Canada, Lilian Chatterjee, noted that large public events create opportunities but also bring inherent risks.

Ms. Chatterjee continued: “High visibility events also mean higher-security risks. Coordinated security efforts are a must to protect against all kinds of threats.

Ensuring security for all will be a major undertaking for the seven World Cup co-hosting OAS member states. We require effective cooperation and integrated policies among co-hosting countries.

“Major sporting events offer great opportunities for host countries to review and revise their safety and security policies and to benefit from cooperation networks at the national, regional, and international levels.”

The Organization of American States, through the Secretariat of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism, in collaboration with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, and the Crime Implementation Agency and Security of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM IMPACS) organised the meeting.

It has been funded by the Government of Canada and is being held at the National Council on Substance Abuse headquarters.

Sources: Barbados GIS, ICC.
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