Promoters turn to Sabina Park - Cricket venue touted as new hotspot following Palisadoes mess
With a ban having been imposed on all entertainment activities along the Palisadoes strip by the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), Sabina Park is being touted as the next entertainment hot spot.
Following Monday night’s debacle which saw motorists being stuck in traffic for hours and unable to access the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) as a result of a party being held in close proximity to the travel base, Sabina Park has been named among the venues that should see an increase in the number of persons interested in hosting events there.
However, in an interview with THE STAR, president of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), Billy Heaven, said that while he anticipates an increase interest in the park as an entertainment venue, officials will be very selective of the events they do accept as they will be unable to facilitate every demand.
“Even before the incident at Palisadoes we were seeing an increase in the number of persons interested in hosting events here, but there is limited space for what and how the space is used,” he said. “We have to always remember that cricket comes first. We have to ensure that the pitch is protected when we decide to give permission for events to be held here.”
Heaven pointed out that while the park has now been upgraded to a multipurpose venue, entertainment events are only held there during the off-seasons for cricket, and officials usually give themselves enough time to get the field ready for cricket after an event is held.
“We usually give ourselves enough time in between events to get the pitch rehabilitated and back up to international standards for cricket. It would be embarrassing on our end if we allow the pitch to be destroyed as cricket is what Sabina Park is known for most of all,” he said. “We know that the spin-off from the Palisadoes incident will be great and Sabina Park has grown into quite the entertainment zone over the years, but we cannot do much more than we already are. We understand that cricket is seasonal, and the park cannot be sustained through that alone, but we have to balance it when it comes to events. Parties shouldn't affect the park and standards we have to maintain internationally.”
Heaven added that while the pitch may not be able to facilitate every event, party promoters have options if they are adamant about Sabina Park being their venue. He revealed that depending on the type and size of the event, parties can be held at the Kingston Cricket Club, the North Stand and the lounge area.
On that note, Heaven expressed gratitude for the support the park has received over the years as an entertainment venue. He pointed out that Sabina Park has grown significantly as a venue of choice for parties over the past few years, and he expects that growth to continue.
“The package that we offer is very attractive to event promoters in terms of affordability. We have adequate parking, the space is very accessible and secure,” he told THE STAR.