Govt, promotional agency differ on WC revenue

Published: Monday, April 24, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Jamaica:Jamaica's preparations for hosting the next year's cricket World Cup have run in to another controversy with the government and its promotional arm for the event, Jampro projecting contradictory revenue figures.

Jamaican Finance Minister Omar Davies last week stated that the government was expecting no more then nine million dollars as revenue after pumping in 105 million dollars for hosting the event.

His assessment was later contradicted by Jampro, who issued a statement saying that long term revenue from staging the event would run into 70 million dollars.

But the different figures given by the Finance Minister and Jampro have raised the heckles of the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), who are now demanding an explanation for the ''diametrically opposed'' revenue projections.

''We need an explanation,'' JLP spokesman on foreign affairs and foreign trade Karl Samuda was quoted by the Jamaica Observer as saying.

He said Jampro's projection was nothing but ''wishful thinking'' and questioned whether the World Cup would bear anything fruitful for the Jamaican economy.

''And there is very little evidence that these wishful thoughts will materialise in any substantial way in terms of the development of Jamaica,'' Mr Samuda said.

''The figures are so diametrically opposed and so far removed from each other, that the Opposition is calling for a thorough examination followed by a full explanation of the differences,'' he said referring to the contradictory claims made by the government and Jampro.

The JLP spokesman also said the party was concerned about the proper usage of the funds allocated to Jampro for the promotion of the event and the likely investment oppotunities in Jamaica.

''We are seeking the truth. We want to know precisely what is going on,'' he asked.

But Finance Minister Davies defended the agency saying that it was doing its job well and was on couse to meet the targets.

''Their objective is to achieve one-third of the total figure, so they are in the ball park,'' the Finance Minister was quoted by the daily as saying.

Meanwhile, Jampro continued with its damage control exercise and said the contradiction arose because the minister underestimated the country's potential.

Defending the projections made by it, Jampro said,''This figure, which represents expected returns from new investments and exports, is in addition to what is to be realised from direct tourism spend and ticket sales.'' ''The hosting of an event such as Cricket World Cup 2007 is a major economic benefit for the country, not just in the short term, but primarily over the medium to long term,'' the statement added.

Jamaica's local Organising Committee also came out to bat for the government and said the opposition needs to see the long term benefits of the tournament.

''I don't think it takes a magician to see that that is just a total off-the-mark nonsensical approach to look at such an event solely in terms of the gate receipts. It has far broader implications,'' Robert Bryan, executive director of Jamaica Cricket 2007 was quoted as saying.

Jamaica was earlier in the news for the slow construction at the stadiums with the construction company responsible for the work saying that it would not be able to meet the deadline set for the completion of the building and renovation of the stadiums.

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