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February 8, 2007
The Queen's Park Oval has been red-flagged as being behind schedule and ICC World Cup venue development director Don Lockerbie sounded the alarm that the ante had to be upped on work being done to the two stands in question-the member's pavilion and the Trini Posse stand.
In what was their final inspection before the World Cup bowls off on March 13, Lockerbie made an honest assessment of the facility that he described as a "masterpiece" last year and which Queen's Park Cricket Club executive manager Roger Henderson has said earlier this month would be ready.
The physical facilities at all grounds throughout the region had been originally given a completion deadline of December 31, 2007. But as of yesterday, Lockerbie wore a look of disappointment when he was interviewed by the media following a day-long tour of the other local facilities to be used during the competition-starting at the UWI SPEC in St Augustine, proceeding to the National Cricket Centre in Couva and the St Mary's College Ground in St Clair before ending at the Oval.
Although LOC venue manager Marcus Knaggs prevented media cameras from following the inspection team headed by Lockerbie into the players rooms in the main pavilion even after LOC CEO Anand Daniel had given the press the OK to peruse, Lockerbie's sombre demeanour and opening statements made clear his not so positive perception of the preparedness of the facility.
"Let's be frank," Lockerbie started, "with about a month to go the Queen's Park Oval has the most work to do of any of the other venues in the region. As an opening venue...and when you think 7about the two venues with the most history, we have to run right through to the finish line to get the job done now." Lockerbie was much more upbeat about the state of readiness of the other venues saying that the UWI SPEC is" a great joy in his heart" and that only one of three practice pitches at St Mary's ground had an issue.
However, there was a 'but'.
"We wanted to come to the Queen's Park Oval and give the thumbs up and say we're ready to go," then he warned with a snicker, " but we have got the Trini Posse, arguably the most famous facility of the World Cup...and you tell me."
Lockerbie said, it was obvious that the construction time of the venue, which was impeded by labour shortages late last year, "was taking longer than it should." And he explained that building around an existing structure is always easier than building from scratch. But although admitting that "we are not going to be in trouble finishing " ahead of the global event and that workers would need top work right through carnival, Lockerbie said there was no more leeway for lapses.
"My friends in the Caribbean like to tell me that the Caribbean is a place where you always finish in the last minute," he stated before advising" Well I'd like to record that we're in the last minute right now."
© Trinidad & Tobago Express
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