The Jamaican government has said that it opted against submitting an official bid to host games at next year's men's T20 World Cup because it had to "pay attention to the cost-and-benefit analysis" as a consequence of "limited resources" in the island.
The Jamaica Observer quoted sports minister Olivia Grange as saying that "it wasn't an easy decision" but after considering "different permutations", the government felt that Jamaica's cost of hosting World Cup matches would far exceed any potential benefits.
"We had been considering the cost and source of funding of nearly half a billion dollars to host a few games in Jamaica," Grange said. "In our cost/benefit analysis with stakeholders, we also considered the economic, social and development impact, including the potential tourism-related impact and attendant industry benefits using year-over-year economic modelling, reconciled against current tourism performance.
"It was a robust exercise in which we considered different permutations including the option not to bid."
Last week, the venues for the Caribbean leg of the World Cup - it will be co-hosted by the USA - of the tournament were announced by the ICC in coordination with Cricket West Indies. The venues were finalised based on bids from local governments.
It is understood that all the popular cricketing destinations across the Caribbean presented bids barring three: Jamaica, Grenada and St Kitts and Nevis. Seven centres - Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago - will now be hosting the games.
Grange said that after consulting the stakeholders, it was decided that the best course of action was for Jamaica to invest in cricket at the grass-roots level instead. To that end, she said, the government plans on investing J$ 100 million in the development of youth cricket and cricket in schools over the next five years in an effort to "fix West Indies cricket".
"It was not an easy decision and I very much understand and share the disappointment of fans who wanted to see T20 World Cup games being played in Jamaica. However, I could not just follow my heart," she said. "As a responsible minister, I am obliged to look beyond immediate gratification to sustainable sport development that will yield immeasurable rewards at all levels in Jamaica. I had to pay attention to the cost/benefit analysis, especially in a circumstance of limited resources.
"This is in addition to our ambitious plan for the rehabilitation and development of Jamaica's sports infrastructure. We will continue discussions with stakeholders about bringing international cricket to Jamaica in the near future."
The World Cup, to be played between June 4 and June 30, will have 20 teams playing a total of 55 matches across ten venues in the Caribbean and the USA. The event will be the third time a men's World Cup will be held in the West Indies, and the first in 14 years. The Caribbean previously hosted the 2007 ODI World Cup and the 2010 T20 World Cup.