Government brings bill for legal management of T20 World Cup

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC. – File photo

Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC, piloted a bill on Tuesday in the Senate which he said would allow visitors to the region to enter TT based on a visa issued by another Caricom host country, in order to view the TT-arm of the T20 World Cup Cricket.

Entry will be also subject to local discretion, the AG added.

He said the competition will run from June 1-30 and is spread across the US and six Caricom venues including TT. Armour said, “for the love of cricket, lovely cricket,” senators ought to pass the ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup Bill 2024.

The bill allows the commercial and legal management of the competition and activities at match venue the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba, and at practice venues such as the Queen’s Park Oval and the Sir Frank Worrell Grounds in St Augustine.

With the competition less than three months away, he said the bill was somewhat similar to a predecessor bill from 2007 that was checked over to see all were treated fairly. The current bill will expire on June 30.

Armour said the event will be unprecedented, to be viewed by two billion people globally, with thousands of visitors expected to TT.

He said immigration regulations, with a sunset clause, have already been laid in both Houses of Parliament in the form of Legal Notice 69/2024. The regulations declare the mutual recognition of visas by participating, host Caricom countries.

The bill (section 7) says, “The Minister responsible for immigration may, pursuant to section 44 of the Immigration Act make regulations for the recognition of a visa issued by a Caricom host country listed in the first schedule for entry into Trinidad and Tobago.”

The listed countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, and TT. Armour said this will be the region’s biggest sporting event since a similar event in 2007. He viewed it as a good economic opportunity, a unique Caribbean promotion, a chance for ease of movement, an aid to regional integration, and a promotion of the Caribbean as a tourist destination.

He said a local organising committee would create an enabling environment for the event. The Government was responsible for providing 7,200 hotel rooms for teams and visiting media, the AG added. Armour said the bill will curb scalpers trying to sell tickets illegally.

He said illicit drugs, fireworks, flares and explosives were deemed by the bill to be illegal items at cricket venues.

Naming the event’s biggest sponsors as Aramco, Emirates and Coca Cola, he said the bill will ensure advertisers rights were protected.

He vowed the bill would prevent “ambush marketing” whereby other companies sought publicity from the event while not being paid advertisers, as he said Pepsi had tried to do at Coca Cola’s expense in the 1996 Cricket World Cup in India. Armour vowed to establish TT and the region as a legitimate destination for sports tourism.

After debate, the bill went to the Senate’s committee where all of the clauses were examined. The bill was then read a third time and passed shortly after 8.10 pm, with the results of a division – called by Opposition Senator Wade Mark – showing 23 senators voting for, none voting against, and there were six abstentions (by the six Opposition senators).