Ensuring safety and security at the T20 World Cup

Participants at the Sub-regional Technical Expert Meeting on “Enhancing Security
Coordination for Major Sporting Events in the Caribbean,” which is being held from 14-17 May 2024,
in St. Michael, Barbados. (Picture attached separately).

While major sporting events can create opportunities for economic growth, social cohesion and intercultural understanding, they can also bring inherent risks.

This was the view of Her Excellency Lilian Chatterjee, High Commissioner for Canada in Barbados, who was delivering feature remarks at the opening of the Sub-regional Technical Expert Meeting on “Enhancing Security Coordination for Major Sporting Events in the Caribbean,” which is being held from 14-17 May 2024 at the National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA) in St. Michael, Barbados.

She explained that sports contribute to nation-building and to fostering identity, on a national and regional level, which are defining elements of a country’s relationships, tourism industry and cultural diplomacy, but large, high-visibility events such as the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s T20 World Cup also mean higher security risks.

The High Commissioner stated it was for this reason that the Meeting was a timely one since the region requires “coordinated security efforts to protect against all kinds of threats. Ensuring security for all seven World Cup co-hosting Organisation of American States (OAS) Member States. We require effective cooperation and integrated policies among co-hosting countries.”

The Meeting is being hosted by the Secretariat of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism of the Organisation of American States (OAS-CICTE), in collaboration with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS) with funding from the Government of Canada.

The primary objective of the Technical Expert Meeting is to provide support for the security planning of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, which takes place from 1 -29 June 2024, by facilitating the exchange of information and best practices among the Caribbean Member States co-hosting the World Cup.

She reiterated that the World Cup presented an opportunity for host countries to review and revise their safety and security policies and to benefit from cooperation networks at the national, regional and international levels.

“We all want to ensure the safety and security of the organisers, players, and the fans. This is why Canada is here today to support the combined efforts of the OAS-CICTE, the UNICRI and CARICOM IMPACS to enhance regional preparedness and resilience practices for the protection of crowded spaces and vulnerable targets,” she added.

Mr. Earl Harris, Assistant Director – Corporate Services, CARICOM IMPACS echoed the High Commissioner’s sentiments and said that cricket was the one sport that passionately binds the entire Caribbean. “Cricket is much more than a sport for us in the Caribbean. It is a way of life. Cricket transcends mere sport for us; it serves as a significant vehicle for regional unity, resilience, and empowerment. Cricket stands as a symbol of our shared identity and heritage, representing our collective spirit,” he noted.

However, he warned that amidst the excitement, everyone must remain vigilant against a range of potential threats to the safety and security of the event. He continued: “This could disrupt the event and pose risks to the safety of participants and spectators and damage the region’s reputation.

Addressing these issues is not just important, it is essential to safeguarding the tournament’s integrity and preserving lives and livelihoods.”

Mr. Harris advocated for a collective effort in ensuring the safety and security of participants and spectators alike at the World Cup, which he said was crucial and of paramount concern in an increasingly interconnected world.

Mr. KJ Singh, Head of Operations for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, Cricket West Indies (CWI) assured that the CWI was committed to strengthening the sport not only through safety and security,but also by anti-corruption and drug-free entertainment. He welcomed the collaborative efforts at the Meeting and stated: “Strengthening the game and ensuring its integrity and safety is paramount, first and foremost, before we even put players, spectators match officials and media on the field.”

 

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