The Regional Police T20 Cricket Tournament bowled off here on Thursday with the Royal St Lucia Police Force supremely confident they can win it all.
During a recent press conference at Police Headquarters (Chesterfield) attended by the top brass including Police Commissioner, Vernon Francois, plans for the tournament were unveiled.
Special invited guest, President of the St Lucia National Cricket Association, Julian Charles, gave the competition the thumbs up.
He said: “It is my distinct pleasure to endorse the tournament of the Regional Securities Services. As we all know cricket is something that is dear to the hearts of West Indians and once there is a tournament of that nature I am sure people will rally with it and hope the St Lucian public will come out and endorse it.”
He pointed out that the police have a rich history of supporting cricket not only in St Lucia, but throughout the Eastern Caribbean, and noted that when this country achieved their best in the sport, was when a policeman had been in charge in terms of team management.
Will history repeat itself, with retired inspector Andrew Leonce being a member of the planning Committee and Manager of the St Lucia Police Cricket Team?
Case in point, when St Lucia won the Windward Islands Tournament for the first time in a long time, Police Officer Augustin Sampson was in charge.
Police Commissioner, Vernon Francois, who was a team member when St Lucia played in the tournament last year and did not win, feels this time around the odds are in the host country’s favor.
Francois, who made a passionate plea to again be a member of the team, is pleased that all of the Regional Securities Services countries, with the exception of Antigua, are here for the competition.
Initially only a few countries took part in the competition, but times have changed, with more countries coming on board now.
Francois said: “The competition it seems has expanded past the Regional Security System to a regional cricket competition. That’s what we were trying to achieve. It is a major undertaking, but I think there is still scope for it to expand further into Jamaica, Guyana and other countries. For now In St Lucia I think we have expanded the tournament to the level we want and for that I am very thankful.”
The Police Commissioner feels that it’s not only about cricket, but an opportunity for police officers to socialize with each other and members of the St Lucian public.
“That’s what we are trying to achieve,” said the top cop “and it fits nicely into the community policing plan of the force, the whole idea of social activities integrating cricket and things along that line.”
The price tag for hosting the tournament is hefty, but organizers hope to cut costs by way of sponsorship. At the press conference the following sponsors were announced: St Lucia National Lottery, Minister Phillip J Pierre, Scotiabank, Karib Cable Flow, Police Credit Union, Police Welfare Association, Le Sport Hotel and Spa and Bay Gardens Resorts.
The St Lucia side consists of the following players: Police Commissioner Francois, Inspector Bernard Gaston, Corporal (Cpl) Alvin Prospere, Cpl Cyrile Charles, Police Constable (PC) Shayne Paul, PC Sheldon Thorpe, PC Essau Gabriel, PC Edley George, PC Margwan Joseph, PC Shem Severin, PC Ked Cadasse, PC Shervn Charles, PC Sherlan Isidore, PC Dwayne Palmer, PC David JnBaptiste. Reserves: CPL Alvin Faucher, PC Barrie Charles, PC Bernie Joseph, Special Police Constable (SPC) Ewin Ferdinand and SPC Arthur Eugene.
Teams in the competition are divided into two groups. Group A consists of St Lucia, Barbados, St Kitts. Group B: St Vincent, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago.
Play got underway Thursday with Barbados vs St Kitts on the Gros Islet Playing Field, while St Lucia went up against St Kitts at the same venue. Trinidad & Tobago also played Grenada at Mindoo Phillip Park.
In addition to the Gros Islet Playing Field, matches take place throughout the holiday weekend at Mindoo Phillip Park and the Beausejour Cricket Ground (BCG).
The two semi-finals take place today at Gros Islet. The third place match is set for Sunday at the BCG at 11:00am, followed by the final at 3:00 pm.