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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Caribbean chaos?

I was intending to post about a number of concerns re the World Cup which I'd picked up from several sources, but Peter Wilson in The Weekend Australian has beaten me to it with an excellent article "Caribbean chaos" (without the question mark).

Wilson draws attention to several elements or possible hazards which may cause the tournament to be a massive failure. These include:
  • Bad organisation
  • Inadequate or incomplete infrastructure
  • Poor transport both between countries and on the ground (the online and print versions of the Australian report are accompanied by two different photos of several players emerging from an aircraft which looks to my untutored eye like a Fokker Friendship or Dash 8).
  • Crime
  • Disease (inc HIV/AIDS)
  • Bureaucratic bumbling over issuing visas, especially to Australian, India, Pakistan and NZ citizens who are required to pay $130 for a visa allowing entry to all the venue nations for the duration of the tournament.
The Australian Government (or more precisely DFAT) also hasn't issued a lot of advice to cricket followers visiting the Caribbean. There is a general travel bulletin , and specific travel advisories for Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, each of which recommends that travellers exercise a "high degree of caution" and warns of the prevalence of violent and petty crime. There is also only one Australian diplomatic mission in the region, in Trinidad and Tobago where Australia is not likely to play (as far as I can tell) more than one match. This paucity of representation coupled with unsophisticated travel links may cause problems for anyone who needs assistance (such as requiring a replacement passport). The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a more detailed general website with links to specific travel and other useful advice (eg validity of UK driving licences).

Update: later on 4 March.

TheABC reports that a light aircraft crashed near the Australian team as they were practising in St Vincent. Apparently there were no serious injuries to the occupants.

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