Sometime during the latter part of last year at the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum held in Guyana, the Prime Minister of Barbados announced that a US$25 million (BDS$50 million) loan from the African Import/Export Bank “will be allocated for the urgent refurbishment of the iconic cricket stadium (Kensington Oval)”.

Such a straightforward and uncomplicated statement could only be interpreted that the sum total of funds would be allocated to the upgrade of that iconic and revered place called Kensington Oval.

Within a time frame of approximately three months, the selected chairman of the organising committee for World Cup T20 revealed to Barbadians and the world that the $50 million loan slated for the refurbishment and upgrade of Kensington Oval would be split in half with $25 million will go to “building that solid platform for the redevelopment of our cricket”.

Surprisingly, yet another set of details was revealed to the Barbadian public within a matter of days when the Minister of Sports announced at a press conference: “The $50 million loan Barbados secured from the African Import-Export Bank last year to refurbish the storied stadium was being spent appropriately. The loan will also fund improvements to the facilities at the 3Ws Oval, Windward Cricket Club and Police Cricket Club where practice matches are to take place.”

Three different pieces of information given by three different people on three different occasions have undoubtedly given rise to uncertainty, ambiguity, and confusion in the minds of Barbadians who are being encouraged to become involved so that the T20 World Cup 2024 can be a success.

Openness, transparency, and accountability aside, “best practice” dictates that funds borrowed by governments be allocated and used for the purpose(s) stated and intended.

Any doubts lingering in the minds of the Barbadian public can be readily erased by a final unabridged, comprehensive, and unequivocal statement detailing the purpose of the loan, and the allocation/disbursement of the funds.

The public’s trust must be protected and kept intact.

Michael Ray

The post #BTSpeakingOut – Come clean on World Cup loan appeared first on Barbados Today.

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