March 7, 2007 / 10:01 AM / 13 years ago

Cricket-Mixed feelings over World Cup in Trinidad

ST AUGUSTINE, Trinidad, March 7 (Reuters) - Not all Trinidadians seem to be enthused at the prospect of the 2007 World Cup finally rolling on to their shores next week.

A cartoon published in the Trinidad Guardian on Tuesday summed up the opinions of some concerned citizens.

“Boy, how come yuh watching World Cup cricket like if yuh in church,” one man asks another. Both are formally attired.

“Everywhere yuh turn there’s a ICC restriction,” comes the reply, next to a list reading, “no radios, no bands, no musical instruments, no this! no that!!”

A letter writer to another Trinidad daily, Newsday, bemoaned the impact that traffic restrictions that were required by the tournament, which is still in its warm-up phase, were having on daily life.

“Is it paranoia? Is it a real threat to the country or the cricketers (if so let the public know)? Is it orders from our new masters the ICC? Or is it the sheer stupidity of our government, its security committee and the Local Organising Committee?”

Queen’s Park Oval, the test venue in Port-of-Spain, is famous for its party atmosphere, which is fuelled by a ready supply of beer, sunshine and enthusiastic dancers whose revealing dress leaves little to the imagination.

There were no such scenes at the Frank Worrell Oval in St Augustine on Monday, where South Africa’s warm-up match against Ireland was conducted in a reverential hush compared to the usual happy riot of colour and noise.

Some of the fans attending Tuesday’s warm-up match between Pakistan and Canada felt they were being short-changed by the prices being charged for food and drink in the ground.

“These are extortionist prices for a developing country, they are on a par with London prices,” Arene Kimkeran, who was born in Trinidad but lives in London, told Reuters.

“People who are poor cannot afford it. A bottle of water costs the equivalent of £1.20 ($2.31), and you can’t bring in plastic bottles to take your own water.

“That’s a 500 percent mark-up on water and that’s just unfair.

“It’s very hot, and you could easily end up with heatstroke. In fact, you could die; your life is worth £1.20 .

“People want to come and enjoy the cricket, they don’t want to be victimised.”

Another spectator, Carl Cassim of Trinidad, had mixed feelings.

“It is very expensive compared to the norm but I suppose that’s because it is a business,” Cassim said.

“If you go to a basketball game in the United States you would pay similar prices.

“I don’t like it, but I can’t be too mad about it.”

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