The billion-dollar Tarouba Stadium has been a ghost town for over a decade, but on May 13, it is set to come alive with a grand opening match between cricket legends Brian Lara and India's Sachin Tendulkar.
Trinidad and Tobago is already abuzz with excitement, with social media users enquiring where tickets can be bought for the event, which will be televised internationally.
The Tarouba Stadium and Brian Lara Cricket Academy was the brainchild of the former People's National Movement (PNM) government led by Patrick Manning in 2005—with a budgeted $275 million to be completed in time for Cricket World Cup 2007. Over the years, the price ballooned to over a billion dollars and was the subject of a commission of enquiry led by Prof John Uff, QC in 2008.
In his 2010 report of the commission of enquiry into UDeCOTT and the construction sector, Uff recommended a full investigation by law enforcement authorities into former UDeCOTT executive chairman Calder Hart and the entire UDeCOTT board in relation to the Brian Lara stadium project in Tarouba.
Uff labelled the project as “nothing short of scandalous”, “a national disaster”, a “national disgrace”, and also recommended that the contractor, Hafeez Karamath Ltd (HKL), be fired immediately.
The People's Partnership government, during the period 2010 to 2015 approved some $185 million to complete the stadium, but the monies were never allocated and the project mothballed.
Ten years later, the newly refurbished stadium and academy is to be opened in grand style.