CWI/GCB/Republic Bank launch “Five for Fun Cricket Program” in Guyana

…Major activities to be birthed through programme

By Timothy Jaikarran

Cricket West Indies, Guyana Cricket Board and Republic Bank Guyana Limited have launched a primary schools’ cricket programme titled “CWI/Republic Bank Five For Fun Cricket Program”.
Launched yesterday at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall in Georgetown, the programme is aimed at appealing to children aged 8 to 11 years old.
The “Five For Fun” initiative is a true joint venture undertaking, of which CWI and Republic Bank are co-owners of the intellectual property surrounding the format, including format rights, trade marks and licensing.
First piloted in St Lucia in 2021, the programme would be one of the first steps in Cricket West Indies’ “Future Stars” programme — the development and participation pathway to introduce the next generation to cricket, and develop their love for, and involvement in, the Caribbean’s number one sport.
Delivering the feature address was GCB President and West Indies Director of Cricket Bisoondyal Singh, who said that cricket has been nonexistent for some years, but is slowly working its way back. Singh relayed that he has been cognizant of the fact that the resources to be used and applied to the programme are not only for children to compete, but to ensure they inculcate their love for the game and develop key life skills.
“We acknowledge that this has not been easy, and the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport must be given credit. The training activities are expected to included cricket-related activities for the youngsters to eventually pursue opportunities and careers as match referees, umpires, scorers, curators, coaches, managers, statisticians, physiotherapists, administrators, and analysts” Singh explained.
The programme would also entail sessions for physical education teachers and coaches from July 1-3, 2022; Republic Bank’s Five For Fun summer training camp from 8 July to 2 August, 2022; and five hubs across Guyana in the three counties. The hubs would include East Coast Demerara (Enmore Cricket Ground), Georgetown (Malteenoes Sports Club), West Demerara (Wales and Uitvlugt community grounds), East Bank Demerara (Thirst Park Ground) and Upper Demerara (Christianburg Ground).
In Berbice, the hubs would be New Amsterdam (Canje and Berbice High School), Lower Corentyne (Albion and Port Mourant Community Centre Ground), Upper Corentyne (#69 Village and Tagore Ground), West Bank Berbice (D’Edward Ground) and West Coast Berbice (Bush Lot Ground).
The hubs in Essequibo are East Bank Essequibo (Tuschen Sports Club), Leguan (Green Park), Wakenaam (G Square Complex), Bartica (Mongrippa Hill Ground) and Essequibo Coast (Imam Bacchus Ground).
Singh also stated that there will be a Republic Bank Intercounty Festival from 3-7 October, 2022 and the Republic Bank National Finals would be on 14 October, 2022, to be hosted in Georgetown.
Singh also explained that there would be an additional six activities on the agenda associated with the Republic Bank “Five For Fun” programme. It would be supported by the GCB, would be called an advanced cricket talent camp, and be staged from 26-28 October, 2022.
CWI Director of Commercial Marketing & Communications, Dominic Warne, mentioned that plans were in the works to push cricket from the grassroots level, but the COVID-19 pandemic had delayed things. Nevertheless, after doing a trial run in St Lucia in 2021, Warne is optimistic that, through the Guyana leg, a new breed of cricketers would be coming through.
Warne also commented, “I am happy this pathway in Guyana is opening, and working with Republic Bank and the Guyana Cricket Board, all the Ministries to help deliver this. This collaboration means that we can be launching Five For Fun here and further in the Caribbean, which we couldn’t dream of doing 2-3 years ago,” Warne clarified.
Warne noted that because cricket is the heartbeat of the Caribbean, with the launching of the initiative, that heartbeat now beats stronger. With the programme in full force, Warne revealed, the development programme would aid in finding the next great West Indies cricketer, as much as it is about being healthy and having fun.
Also giving insight at the launching was Minister of Culture, Youth & Sport, Charles Ramson Jr, who explained that he supports the initiative as it focuses on sports, which is one of President Irfaan Ali’s visions for Guyana. Ramson divulged that his Ministry is spending a total of 3.1 billion dollars on sports, and that people can look forward to the commencement of two of the three stadiums, with construction starting this year.
“Last year we spent 200 million on community grounds, this year we are spending 250 million. That is the first contact for many young people, as this is where you learn to play, and learn team work, and understand relationships. I cannot emphasise how important the leadership of the country and at multiple tiers for us to move this initiative forward that are aimed at the welfare and progress of people. We want something better for ourselves, our family, our nation and our civilization,” Ramson shared.
He explained that his presence at the launching is to show that, from the Government of Guyana and President Irfaan Ali, they are firm in their commitment to advance sports in Guyana.
Education Minister Priya Manickchand also stated that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was the unexpected closure of schools in Guyana. But based on studies, Manickchand clarified, if they are to produce wholesome children and come out of the pandemic, they cannot succumb to the urge of only academics. Hence her Ministry has set its sights on producing children who are competent in one sport, one foreign language, one musical area, a ‘tevet’ (such as painting or masonry), and some level of volunteerism.
She also said, “So, the organized sport here, where our children all across Guyana, we will see not only cricketers but more wholesome healthy behaviour that comes from good team sports. Children will learn to get along with each other and see the value, so much more comes out from learning cricket when we engage in sport,” she noted.
The Minister noted that the launch was not an accident, as it is a perfect place, owing to the fact that she believes that it will be beneficial in the long run. Her Ministry will be measuring the progress and value it has brought to children, as to how it impacted their performance in the classroom.
Stephen Grell, Managing Director, Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited, shared, “It is the first of its kind, welcoming a notable diversity of participation and positioning young cricket enthusiasts for stardom. We’re particularly heartened that this comes at a time when we’re encouraging students to return to school after such an extended time away from the classroom; and it presents an opportunity for recreational, developmental, physically invigorating activity, discipline and togetherness.”
Karen Tom Yew, General Manager, Group Marketing and Communications, Republic Bank Limited, commented: “When Republic Bank officially launched Five For Fun in the region in August last year, with St. Lucia being the pilot territory — both male and female cricket enthusiasts between the ages of 8-11 were invited to join us on our Five For Fun journey. This approach was purposeful, as we are working really hard to ensure we embed diversity, equity and inclusion in all that we do.
“This is in keeping with our solid history of responsible investment in the communities in which we operate. Our goal is to expand the programme across the Caribbean, knowing very well how (passionate) we are as a people about our cricket.”
Over the next few weeks and throughout the August holidays, Cricket West Indies, working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education Allied Arts Division; the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport; and the Guyana Cricket Board, will introduce several coaching hubs across the three counties in Guyana, to prepare the teams for a series of preliminary game. From September, 15 zones comprising 75 school teams will participate in zonal preliminary rounds leading to a grand “Five For Fun” finals.
“5 For Fun” is designed around the principles of fun, inclusion and equality. The ‘fun’ elements of the game are rooted in its speed, energy, and uncomplicated rules. Each 5 For Fun game involves five (5) players per team playing five (5) 6-ball overs each. Each batter faces an over from a single bowler. If a batter is ‘Out’, they will still face their allotted overs, but 3 runs will be deducted from the team score. The ‘inclusion and equality’ elements ensure boys and girls of all abilities have the opportunity to play together as equals.