By Neto Baptiste
Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, has underscored the value of the government’s partnership with Cricket West Indies, defending his administration’s decision to partner with the regional body in 2017 to purchase the then Sticky Wicket Ground and rebranding it the Coolidge Cricket Ground.
During his parliamentary presentation on the 2021 budget, Matthew asserted that over the last three years, CWI has contributed almost US$50 million into the economy of Antigua and Barbuda.
“Today, we have Super 50 cricket taking place in Antigua, broadcasted around the world on ESPN simply because we had the vision, the foresight and the wherewithal. Sri Lanka will be touring the West Indies in March and if, as we suspect will be the case, the entire Sri Lankan tour will be done right here in Antigua and Barbuda,” he said.
Matthew was, at the time, highlighting the benefits to the twin island state of having partnered with CWI back in 2017 to purchase the then Sticky Wicket Ground and rebranding it the Coolidge Cricket Ground.
Government has come under fire from members of the public over the decision to partner with CWI, with many believing the property should have been brought solely by the government and then leased to CWI.
Matthew however believes that the decision to partner with the sport’s regional governing body has benefited the country in more ways than one with an increased calendar of international cricket coming to our shores.
“Over the last three years, that is 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21, Cricket West Indies has contributed a total of $47,209,147 to the Antigua and Barbuda economy, and that is US [dollars], and this contribution is in the form of wages and salaries for the employees that work there in terms of obviously the deductions of social security, medical benefits, education levy, customs, ABST, match fees for England, India, India warm-up matches, A team tours, under-19 training camps and women’s world cup and so forth,” he said.
The minister also revealed plans for the development of a recording and broadcasting studio at the venue.
“The studio is one that will be used to record worldwide with the new technology, [we will be able to] edit and broadcast all of West Indies cricket, and so Antigua and Barbuda, at the Sticky Wicket [CCG] facility that this administration partnered with Cricket West Indies to purchase, will now become the major cog in cricket recording, internet broadcasting of West Indies cricket,” Matthew said. Australia is also slated to tour the West Indies between June and July this year, with Pakistan set to follow between July and August.