‘We are willing to negotiate with government’: Liberta Sports Club open to dialogue over unpaid World Cup funds

The facilities at in the Liberta were utilized as a practice venue during the Super League stage of the ICC Under-19 World Cup earlier this year.
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By Neto Baptiste

President of the Liberta Sports Club and former West Indies fast bowler Kenneth Benjamin said the body is willing to negotiate with government regarding outstanding funds owed to them for the country’s hosting of the ICC Under-19 World Cup held from January 14 to February 5 in the Caribbean.

Antigua and Barbuda hosted the entire Super League stage of the championships from January 26 to the final on February 5 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

“We wouldn’t even mind if the government even negotiates and says to us that they will give us a little free electricity and so on, but the fact that nobody is saying anything is the issue. We are not going to fight over that because there has to be more cricket in Antigua, and Liberta field will be needed again,” he said. 

To date, some entities, the Liberta Sports Club being one of them, are yet to be compensated for the role they played in the successful hosting of the event. The club, Benjamin revealed, is owed a little over $14,000, and had gone into its own account to ensure some things were in place ahead of and during the event.

“We would have gone and put in all the work, used diesel for the roller and gas for the drive-mower. We would have had to outfit the facilities every day and we didn’t get any cleaning supplies for the bathrooms, and those dispensers are not cheap. Every day these players come in they use hand sanitizers, hand soap, hand paper, and we have to replenish those every day so there has to be a cost for that,” he said.

Benjamin said, however, the groundsmen and others employed to satisfy certain aspects of the day-to-day running of the practice venue have received their payments.

“The only thing we got were the monies to pay the ground staff and the cleaners, but in terms of the monies for the Liberta Sports Club, no. We have sent in the invoice and the last time we had a discussion to do with the monies for Greg and the work he did, there was some confusion there. The minister [Daryll Matthew] said that it wasn’t Michael Freeland — who we would have been dealing with all the time — so I don’t know, but we sent the invoice to Freeland so I am hoping he forwarded it to the relevant authority,” the former player said.

India beat England by four wickets to win their fifth ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup when the final was played at the SVRS on February 5.

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