By Neto Baptiste
There will be no two-day cricket put on by the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) after the Cabinet decided that permission will not be granted for the hosting of the competition.
Information Minister, Melford Nicholas, announced during Thursday morning’s post-Cabinet press briefing that the decision was taken following recommendations from both the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Health.
“You would be aware that late last year or earlier this year, we had granted permission for the limited overs version of the local competition to take place. We were promised that it could have been done in a bubble and in accordance with what we would have already approved for regional tournaments and international cricket, we felt that we could have given consent to that,” he said.
“However, based on the results of the last domestic tournament and what we would have witnessed in terms of the community participation in these games and throwing caution to the wind, we have made a determination based on recommendation and representations both from the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Health that the upcoming two-day tournament will not be allowed,” he added.
Reports are that a video which showed spectators running onto the field in celebration after CUB Bethesda Golden Eagles won the final against Anderson E Carty Empire Nation last Sunday, was used as one of the determining factors. The match was played in Bethesda.
Meanwhile, president of the cricket association, Leon Rodney, said the body was not consulted prior to the decision but that they would have no other choice but to abide by the Cabinet’s decision.
“If that’s what it is, then that’s what it is. The government, if that’s what they decide then they are the professionals and I am sure that they have some technical people who are advising them and if that’s what it is then that’s what it is,” he said.
“I would just hasten to say that it is sad that we still have the market flocking up with a lot of people, the buses are still carrying a lot of people, the supermarkets are still full of people and even just looking at the photos from the flocking up [gathering] of people trying to get vaccinated, I am not sure it is not being hypocritical. But, at the end of the day, we have to respect the professional opinion of the so-called professionals,” he added.
The video recordings after Sunday’s match showed spectators running onto the field after former West Indies and former national player Anthony Martin hit the winning run off the final ball bowled by Lynton Africa.
The match, which was slated for the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, was moved to Bethesda after the premier venue became unavailable.