$3mn US aid to organise cricket World Cup

Wednesday, 21 February 2007, 06:00 Hrs
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Kingston (Jamaica): India is among the seven countries that have helped the West Indies stage its first cricket World Cup next month, with the US contributing $3 million in training, largely of security personnel.

World Cup managing director and CEO Chris Dehring noted that India, Australia, Canada, China, France, South Africa and the United Kingdom, besides the US, have been assisting the organisers of the tournament that starts March 11.

The 16-nation tournament will be played for 49 days in the backyard of the US, making it naturally wary of security aspects.

During a recent visit to World Cup headquarters, Ann Jackson, world cup regional coordinator for the US Embassy in Barbados, disclosed that the US has contributed at least $3 million in training for the tournament.

"We have provided 80 training classes on issues such as port security, airport security, bomb detection, healthcare sector management, resource management, traffic management, VIP protection and disaster management," she said.

Dehring, who successfully drafted West Indies' World Cup proposal, is indebted to the countries, which have helped the World Cup organisers.

Jackson said that training for air marshals is ongoing throughout the nine venues at which 12 stadiums will be used for matches.

The US Department of Homeland Security has facilitated the installation of the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) "for the purposes of ensuring greater security" during the World Cup.

"APIS is now operational and going well I've been told. We anticipate that this project will be one of the legacies of the World Cup," said Jackson, who took charge last October and is looking after all nine venues.

Regarding the establishment of a special position within the embassy dedicated to the World Cup, Jackson explained that the tournament is seen as "very important" and therefore the establishing of a central desk for it.

"This post was set up so that Washington (DC) could have a better feel for the event and the requests that might be received from the host venues," she said.

"The World Cup is obviously a great opportunity for the region to showcase its potential to the world and the US government is pleased to provide whatever assistance it can."

Jackson pointed out that consular staff would be available throughout the tournament to respond to any incidents involving American citizens.

Dehring has been in touch with consular representatives of the countries that are assisting the West Indies.

"A lot of international assistance and expertise has gone into this World Cup and with 16 teams vying for the title and 98 member-countries of the ICC, it's obviously attracting a lot of attention internationally," said Denring, who has met with consular representatives from Australia, Canada, India, the UK and the US.

Canada's High Commissioner to Jamaica Denis Kingsley noted that as "one of the participating nations, Canada is looking forward to a successful event" and is pleased to support the organisers in hosting a memorable World Cup.
Source: IANS
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