Cricket Carnival

Dear Editor,
Guyana hosted the last round and the play-offs of the recently concluded CPL 2022 tournament. By all accounts; well, at least by governmental assessment, it was a very good effort by the organisers. Expectations were met and exceeded.
Co-branded Cricket Carnival, the tournament indeed had an electrifying carnival-like atmosphere. There was heightened fervency and cricket mania, which had been absent for many years, in particular the pandemic-restricted years. Indeed, CPL 2022 and Cricket Carnival provided a much-needed boost for Guyana, especially in its tourism and hospitality sectors.
Figures indicated that upwards of 30,000 visitors arrived in this South American country in the month of September. That, according to official governmental statements, is a record. It is posited that most of these visitors arrived mainly for cricket and the festivities.
While this success is being celebrated by Guyanese officials and locals, there are calls to make it bigger and better in the next two years that Guyana would be hosting the last round and playoffs of CPL. Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson jr, is reported to have said, “We set an ambitious target that we wanna become the events capital of the Caribbean, and there is still a lot for us to do, but we’re off to a great start.”
He tempered expectations by adding, “There are lots of lessons that we are learning. We have to do review sessions on every event, and say that there are areas that we have to improve on.”
So, while the cricket was a typically fever-pitched event and spectator engagement and attendance were nothing short of spectacular, it should also be noted that the Cricket Carnival events held across the country were equally well received. They were, for the most part, family-friendly and wholesome.
However, things got off the wheels, so to speak, at the conclusion of the tournament. The post-final concert at the National Stadium at Providence with Jamaican Dancehall artiste “Spice” and the Carnival the following day were anything but family-friendly and wholesome. Those events, while intended to be festive and decent, were anything but festive and decent. They turned out to be some of the lewdest, vilest and vulgar scenes witnessed in Guyana. It was a descent into bacchanalia, nudity, and debauchery, with scantily clad – or rather almost naked – revellers shamelessly gyrating against each other, sexualising their every move in full public glare in front of minors, families, and other innocent viewers on broadcast television. By no stretch of the imagination were those events family-friendly.
So, if Mr Charles Ramson genuinely wants to improve upon this event as a product, he must be honest with himself and see this year’s version for what it was – the importation of foreign artists at the expense of local talent, and the wholesale borrowing and co-opting of alien cultural practices that are detrimental to Guyanese social mores and culture, which ought not to be repeated.
As Minister of Tourism, he ought to know that while Guyana is regionally aligned with other Caribbean nations, its culture – though similar in some aspects – is different from that of Jamaica; Brazil; and yes, even Trinidad; especially when it comes to festivals and festivities.
As a product and brand, Guyana’s festivities must be marketed as a wholly Guyanese experience, unique and different from other regional states. Guyana must focus on defining its own cultural practices, which must be centred upon good, wholesome family values that do not copy the degenerative practices of others.

Thank you,
Jay Mobeen