By L.K. Hewlett

“Warner Park and St. Kitts-Nevis are ready for the WICB matches,” said Val Henry, Commercial and Communications Manager for the St. Kitts L.O.C.

With the One-Day match literally days away, the ICC Cricket World Cup committee has handed over the venue to Local Organising Committee, an indication, Henry said, of the state of readiness of Warner Park for the May 23 match and the Test matches June 22-26.

“A committee chaired by the Ministry of Sports has been formed and preparations are being made for the Grand Opening of the newly renovated Warner Park, scheduled for May 20,” Henry said. “Some finishing touches are being done but in terms of major construction, all that has been completed on schedule. The grand opening will be open to the public and they will have the opportunity to tour the facility.”

Due to the newness of World Cup Cricket to the Federation, the LOC faced the challenges of having to sensitise the public to issues relating to the Federation’s hosting of an event of this calibre.

Creating awareness “has been a learning experience for all” as new systems and procedures had to be put into place regarding issues of safety and security, Henry said.

Henry said Kittitians should realise just how beneficial this event will be to them individually, and to St. Kitts-Nevis as a whole.

The LOC has met with DJs and promoters to encourage them to organise events, whether it is shows, concerts, dances, or water-sports activities. The LOC, through the meeting, highlighted how providing entertainment during the time surrounding the cricket matches could see the entertainers maximising their potential revenue. It was explained that the ICC name could not be used to promote any event unless permission was obtained.

“There will be many visitors to St. Kitts and not all will be here to attend the cricket matches. Some will use this time as a ‘get away.’ Keeping visitors, whether cricket fans or partygoers active and entertained is a key ingredient to making visiting St. Kitts a rewarding experience,” Henry said.

He further stated that ICC contracts might be given to locals who do ‘branding/signs’ to put logos on souvenirs and for advertising.

In his interview with The Observer, Henry said he could not emphasise enough just how beneficial hosting ICC World Cup Cricket will be to everyone, from the commercial sector to the corner street vendor.

“The international media exposure alone is very significant as the Federation places more economical emphasis on the tourism and service industry. Hotels, restaurants, taxis, concessionaires, public transportation, stores, supermarkets, etc. all stand to benefit financially from The ICC World Cup Cricket,” he said.  “I see this event being a huge success. St. Kitts is being introduced to the international market and this event will leave a legacy for our stadium which can now host world-class standard events such as the St. Kitts Music Festival.”

There will be four possible seating areas for the public, each having varied ticket prices; General Grounds, Southern Stands, Western Mound, and Party Stand.

Henry was emphatic that the public set aside the mentality of getting tickets for the cricket matches at the time of the event, as tickets can be bought Online and demand is great.

“To avoid being left out when match-time rolls around, it is advised that persons purchase their tickets now. Tickets are available at the Ticket booth located at the Park Range entrance of Warner Park, while tickets for the CWC 2007 can be purchased at The Sands Complex.” Henry said. “The LOC and ICC World Cup Cricket wants everyone to be a part of this inaugural and momentous event. This event will help show the world that St. Kitts may be small in size but vast in class.”

The Volunteer Programme for CWC 2007 will have its first test at the upcoming Digicel Home Series starting with the One-Day International at the New Warner Park on May 23. Chairperson of the Volunteer Committee of the St. Kitts LOC Julie Martin stated that all outgoing and dynamic individuals should seize the opportunity to sign up and contribute positively to the enhancement of the spectator experience.