Presentation of the Prime Minister at St. George’s Cricket Club. Pictured- David Burt, Prime Minister and Neil Paynter (photograph by Akil Simmons)
Cup Match Cricket Clubs Somerset and St George’s received a total of $75,000 today to help defray the costs of the annual event.
A check for $25,000 was handed over to St George’s Cricket Club this afternoon to help defray its cup match costs, while $50,000 was handed over earlier to Somerset Cricket Club.
David Burt, the Prime Minister, said $10,000 of the funds for St George came from the Cabinet Office, with the same amount donated by Hotelco, the developer of St Regis Bermuda.
He added that fintech insurer Relm Insurance paid the remaining $5,000.
David Burt, Prime Minister, Vashun Blanchette, Chairman of Somerset Cricket Club, and Ernest Peets, Minister for Youth, Culture and Sport (Photograph provided)
Mr Burt explained: “Cup Match is upon us and the government has remained true to its commitment to support the classic Cup Match.
“Earlier today I had the pleasure, together with the Minister for Youth, Culture and Sport, of presenting a check for $50,000 to Somerset Cricket Club, the host of this year’s event. year.
“This support is part of the government’s annual grants and contributions budget and shows our tangible support for the club which will help offset the considerable cost of hosting Bermuda’s premier sporting event.
“Usually the non-host club meets its expenses with the help of sponsors.
“However, since the global pandemic, local and community sports clubs have fallen on hard times and the government has tried to help by providing over $1 million in capital development grants to help upgrade facilities. and financial support for youth programs, recognizing the vital role these clubs play in Bermuda.
Presentation of the Prime Minister at St. George’s Cricket Club. Pictured L-R – Minister Ernest Peets, Neil Paynter, Romeo Ruddock, David Burt, Prime Minister and Kim Swan (photograph by Akil Simmons)
He added: “About ten days ago I received a request from St George’s Cricket Club for $25,000 which would enable the club to meet its own cup match expenses after two difficult years.
“The timing was tight but I immediately tried to help in two ways.
“The first task was to look within to see how the government could help financially.
“The second was to identify a partner invested in the success of the St George community.
“I am happy to say that both tasks have been accomplished.
“Today I am pleased to report that $10,000 has been identified in the Cabinet Office budget and following an approach with Hotelco Bermuda, the owners of St Regis, they have matched the government contribution with another $10,000.”
Mr Burt, who is also finance minister, said the package was topped off with $5,000 from Relm Insurance, a new digital asset insurance company.
He added: “Relm’s commitment to Bermuda has resulted in the hiring of several young Bermudians and today they have taken another concrete step in their support of the community.”
The Prime Minister added: ‘Cup Match is for all of us and both clubs stand on the shoulders of the Black Lodges and Friendly Societies who came together over a century ago to stage a cricket match as part of of the commemoration of the abolition of slavery.
“By supporting Somerset and St George’s, we are doing our part to honor and preserve this heritage.”
Mr Burt said the Cabinet Office part of the money ‘will definitely have to be taken from another department’.
But he added: “I don’t have the details.”
The Prime Minister said: “We will find the money because it is important to make sure we support this event.
Mr Burt, a Somerset fan, said: “Everyone knows which team I support, but we can’t have a Cup Match without both teams.”
Neil Paynter, Chairman of St George’s Cricket Club, thanked the Prime Minister and other organizations for their support.
He explained: “The Prime Minister is right, the last two years have been very difficult for clubs and we know that some of our sponsors have not been able to support us as they would have in the past.
“As a club, we always want to do our best and provide a well-contested game for our fans.
“The players have to focus on the cricket and we as managers are focused on enabling them to do that.
“St George’s is looking forward to two days of exciting cricket.
“With the support we received today, we can handle the work behind the scenes – work that continues to make Cup Match the classic event that all Bermudians love and enjoy.”
Mr Paynter added that the money would help cover expenses such as player uniforms, hotel accommodation and transport.
Asked about opportunities for financial support in the years to come, the club chairman said he hoped to build good relationships and “make great partnerships with many of the organizations and businesses that we have in Bermuda”.
Mr Paynter added: “I think there will come a time when we all have to work collectively together.
“A lot of times we traditionally went to maybe one or two sponsors, maybe we had to open it up and work collectively for the betterment of the game.”
Mr Burt said earlier, when presenting a check to Somerset Cricket Club: ‘Cup Match is much more than a two-day cricket match – it is part of our culture and our heritage.
He added: “We know clubs rely on the business community for sponsorship and support. However, additional funding is needed.
“The government will continue to support both clubs to recognize the historical and cultural significance of the cup game.”
Mr Burt congratulated Vashun Blanchette, the chairman of Somerset Cricket Club, as well as club officials for their work preparing the ground ahead of the 2022 Annual Classic.
• UPDATE: This story has been updated to include comments made by the Premier during the presentation at Somerset Cricket Club.