It was, understandably, a very proud moment for Guyana’s Head of State, President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, as he announced Guyana’s hosting rights for the next three seasons of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
However, the President’s jubilation came with a lot of impassioned words and warnings regarding the product that Guyana is about to offer the Caribbean and the wider world in a matter of four months.
“But, more importantly, is the power of this game in unifying people; the power of this game in bringing people under the banner of love and togetherness; the power of this game in brining every single country in this region together; the power of this game in adding hope to one’s life. The power of this game is unifying,” Dr. Ali shared as he described the unifying power that cricket holds.
His Excellency went on to joke about the Guyana Amazon Warriors’ need to step up and give their country something to cheer about when Guyana hosts 11 CPL games this season. He said, with a laugh, “We can only do so much, if the players for Amazon Warriors are listening, you’ll need to do a bit more, so take this as a challenge to get over the mark this time.”
Delving deeper into his involvement in the regional franchise tournament, President Ali gave the assurance that Guyana would deliver in hosting CPL and the Cricket Carnival, scheduled to run simultaneously.
He related to the crowd, which was hooked on his every word, “I was a part of CPL from day 0, from when it was conceptualized. Pete, I can assure you, what you will get in this CPL two weeks in Guyana will be something different. The end of it, we want to create a global product that will support our tourism.”
As he discussed sport tourism, the President gave a better view of what he hopes to achieve through the Cricket Carnival initiative.
“We are going to start the building of something strong, a product that is different, a product that is differentiated, not a product that is in competition with any other product. It is a product that is geared towards bringing our region together,” President Ali began.
He continued, “Yes, we can say there’re challenges, whether it’s curry chicken or chicken curry, but at the end of the day, we must all enjoy the chicken, whether it’s curry before or after.”
Pushing the notion of unity, the President articulated his expectations for what would be a packed two weeks in Guyana, come September 2022.
“That is what the region is about. The region is about good competition, great competition, but at the end of it, great celebration as one region, one people, one Caribbean, and Guyana is for all. We want the entire region to be prosperous, and we are building something here to bring the region together.”
The President continued, “So, we are building two weeks of entertainment, two weeks of celebration, two weeks of integration, two weeks of energy, two weeks of coming together as one region under the banner of CPL Cricket Carnival 2022.
“If you’re not coming for the excitement in the stands, then do not buy your ticket, because the stands will be different this time. The stands will be colourful,” the Head of State concluded.