Beausejour cricket stadium renamed Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium
The Saint Lucia government has renamed the island’s main venue for international cricket matches, Beausejour Stadium, in honour of Darren Sammy who captained the victorious West Indies ICC T20 World Cup team. The facility in the north of the island, is now the Darren Sammy National Cricket Ground. It has a seating capacity of 15,000 and was the first ground in the West Indies to stage a floodlight One-Day International.
The announcement came after Sammy and Johnson Charles returned home from India on Tuesday.
A pavilion at the cricket ground, which has hosted international matches since 2002, will also be renamed in honour of Sammy’s team-mate and fellow Saint Lucian Johnson Charles.
In addition to leading the team to victory in the finals match against England on Sunday, Sammy headed the squad when the West Indies won their first T20 title in 2012, beating Sri Lanka.
Sammy and Johnson received a hero’s welcome when they touched down at the Hewanorra International Airport on Tuesday afternoon.
“I am truly honoured, I am humbled and blessed,” Sammy said. “Thank you, we always know Saint Lucians love their own . . .”
After greeting fans who had gathered in and around the airport, the West Indies players took part in a motorcade before heading to a reception at the Derek Walcott Square in the capital, Castries.
Before that they paid a courtesy call on the island’s governor general Dame Pearlette Louisy.
After the West Indies victory on Sunday, Sammy had been very critical of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) for its failure to support the cricketers.
At the welcome reception in Jamaica for Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor, the country’s Sports Minister Olivia Grange urged the WICB and players to find a common ground in order to return the West Indies to the pinnacle of world cricket.
“Like good parents, the WICB must reposition itself in such a way that its players see the governing body as its chief guardian rather than its Achilles heel,” she said. “The players, too, must also be cognizant that not receiving best wishes prior to an exam doesn’t mean your parents are uncaring or want you to fail.”
The minister said that to prevent the seemingly perpetual disputes, the WICB and players must address the issues and necessary measures put in place to resolve them.
It was a welcome reception truly befitting national heroes when Darren Sammy, captain of the West Indies T20 team, and team-mate Johnson Charles arrived at the Hewannorra International Airport on Tuesday afternoon. This, after the two Saint Lucians had made West Indians the world over proud by defeating England on Sunday April 3, 2016 to regain the ICC T20 trophy in the final of the world cup.
The pair were greeted on the tarmac as they disembarked their BA flight by prime minister Kenny Anthony and other ministers as well as Digicel’s Country Manager Siobhan James-Alexander.
They were then welcomed at the VIP lounge by other
Meantime, in congratulating Samuels – who copped the Man of the Match members of Cabinet, the leader of the opposition, sports officials and family members. During a short reception the prime minister announced the renaming of the cricket stadium the Darren Sammy Stadium and one of the stands to be named after Johnson Charles. Charles will also be rewarded with a parcel of land by the government.
As Charles and Sammy made their way out of the VIP lounge they were greeted by thousands of fans who had flocked to the airport to welcome them home. Some bore placards, some cricket T-shirts, while others adorned their national colours and beamed with pride as they mobbed the two cricket heroes award in the finals but also lost 30 percent of his match fee for breaching Article 2.1.4 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an international match – Grange said: “Marlon, you are a world class cricketer and proven match winner . . . Continue to speak with your bat, my son, and say nothing else.”
She also acknowledged Taylor’s contribution.
“You might have played only one game in this tournament but as a veteran campaigner your guidance and support to the younger bowlers was crucial,” she said.
Minister Grange said she hopes the World T20 championship win was the start of a West Indies renaissance. for photo ops and autographs.
This was followed by a massive motorcade which saw the streets from Vieux Fort to Castries aligned with supporters hoping for a glimpse of the two sons of the soil. On several occasions Sammy and Charles stopped to greet fans, making this one of the longest journeys from Vieux Fort to Castries.
Darren Sammy and Johnson Charles also paid a courtesy call on governor general Dame Pearlette Louisy before heading to the Derek Walcott Square for a massive rally. Speeches aside, the activity featured performances by TJ and Arthur among others as well as Sammy, Charles and fans doing the now famous Champions dance.
No more Beausejour; its now the Darren Sammy National Cricket Ground.
Darren Sammy and Johnson Charles greet fans on Tuesday during motorcade.