Drag racing track and cricket stadium in the making

POSTED: 09/13/12 12:51 PM

St. Maarten – Sports tourism on St Maarten can shift into high gear in the not too distant future now that the government has finally decided to approve the construction of a drag racing facility as well as a cricket stadium on Pond Island.

While the exact details have not been made available, when completed, this project which is long over due will boost the tourism industry, increase the competitiveness between other drag racers within and around the Caribbean and host one day internationals.

Already the area behind the Little League Stadium where the stadium will be built has gone through a transformation and truck loads of sand that were stockpiled in Pointe Blanche have been placed on the easterly side of the ground.

Deputy Prime Minister, William Marlin touched briefly on the topic during the weekly press briefing at the A.C. Wathey Legislative Hall in the Government Administration Building yesterday. “The cricket stadium and the race track form part of the government’s program to develop and promote sports tourism. By having a cricket stadium that is suitable for hosting international events we will be able to attract people who under normal circumstances would not be on St Maarten,” Marlin said.

The Deputy Prime Minister however pointed out that the spin off from the cricket field which is ideally situated near to Cost U Less is evident when teams visit the island. “You have teams from St Kitts, Antigua or Anguilla. People sail in and fly in and if they were capable of walking in from those destinations, they would do so as well,” Marlin added.

According to Marlin, it will be a win, win situation for all concerned because as long as people come to the island, they will see the need to shop. He went as far as comparing a St Maartener travelling to Puerto Rico for medical treatment.

“You go to the doctor in Puerto Rico after you have been referred by your family doctor and after you have finished, you visit Plaza Las Americas and shop until you drop. The local guest houses, supermarkets and car rentals will all benefit from sports tourism.” He pointed out.

On the topic of drag racing facility, Marlin said that neither the French or the Dutch have been instrumental in developing proper racing track and that has resulted in detrimental circumstances on the public roads.

“Having a professional track available, we can use our advantageous position in the North Eastern Caribbean where we are easily accessible. We will not only have events for the local population, we will also have a venue that will cater for international events and we can hold events during the off season which will bring in people for other destinations that will stay and make use of the hotels and car rentals,” he stated.

Among the changes that will take place as a direct result of the new development is that area that is used for crushing cars etc on Pond Island will be re located, however a location has not been identified and an access road is scheduled to pass through a section of the ground which has been used for a cricket field for a number of years. The blue print for both projects have already been reviewed however where the funding is coming from and who the principals are, is yet to be ascertained.

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