Guyana to host CPL 2022 final, semifinals

…as Cricket Carnival launched
…to feature food festival, regional & international concerts, cruise

Story and photos by Jemima Holmes

“The loudest it will ever be.” That was the promise made by Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali as he made the most anticipated announcement, that Guyana will host the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) final for the first time in the CPL’s 10-year history.
While the Hero CPL final is auspicious enough, the Government of Guyana has planned a string of celebrations titled ‘Carnival Cricket’ that would provide diverse and high-quality entertainment for Guyanese enthusiasts and foreigners over the course of two weeks.

President Dr Irfaan Ali, Sport Minister Charles Ramson Jr, Hero CPL CEO Pete Russell and Tourism Minister Oneidge Walrond are the main stakeholders in CPL’s finals being hosted in Guyana for the next three years

Coupled with the excitement that the Hero CPL brings, as Guyanese venture to the National Stadium, Providence, to support the famous Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW), international concerts, Guyana Night, food festivals, cultural shows and competitions would culminate in a grand ‘Best of the Caribbean’ Carnival competition, that invites the best bands from around the region to show off their skills.
Addressing an animated crowd gathered on the Party Stand of the Guyana National Stadium, Providence, and other dignitaries on Wednesday night, President Dr. Irfaan Ali told of the world-class product that Guyana hopes to build through the ‘Cricket Carnival’ brand.
“We are not building only and working only for a final, we are building a new product for Guyana. A new product that will support the many new hotels, restaurants, entertainment spots that are being built across our country. The many new resorts, cause all will be involved in this process,” President Ali explained.
This all led up to the words that Guyanese have been anxiously awaiting for some months, since his declaration of optimism in December 2021, about hosting the CPL final in the Land of Many Waters.
“That is why not only are we going to have CPL in Guyana, but on the 30th of September, those in our diaspora, mark the date and listen to the next few words,” His Excellency teased.
“On the 30th of September, for the first time in CPL history, the finals will be in Guyana. And not only will the finals be in Guyana, but for the next three years, the finals will be in Guyana,” the President continued as he encouraged the jubilant celebration of those in attendance.
Even more so, Guyana has secured a contract to host the CPL for three years, including that of the 2023 and 2024 seasons. Aside from the final, Guyana will be hosting seven group games and three knockout games. Guyana’s two-week hosting period is expected to interconnect with that of the Carnival Cricket festivities.
According to a missive from the Hero CPL, Guyana’s, massive support of the regional franchise tournament has set an expectation of ‘significant excitement’ when the tournament makes its way to local shores.
As such, Hero CPL CEO Pete Russell explained why Guyana was such an easy choice for the marquee game in the Hero CPL calendar.
“We are blessed with amazing fans across the Caribbean, and this is very clear whenever we visit Guyana where the atmosphere at Providence is electric. The idea of having the Hero CPL final in front of this wonderful crowd of passionate and knowledgeable cricket fans is a mouthwatering prospect. We are very grateful to have such a positive relationship with the Government and cricket authorities in Guyana, and we thank them for helping us come to this hugely exciting agreement,” Russell indicated.
Touting the Sport tourism opportunity that is the Cricket Carnival initiative, Tourism Minister Oneidge Walrond described the event as incomparable to anything seen in the region thus far.
“Guyana stands ready to be the venue for a number of matches and accompanying entertainment events, as we become the hosts of the biggest party in sport in the month of September. The CPL, with a Carnival fusion, will be the first of its kind in the region. It promises to be events the likes of which the Caribbean has never seen before,” Walrond boasted.
What the Minister did not reveal just yet was the plan to formulate a CPL Cricket Carnival Cruise which would take avid fans and revellers alike around to the host nations in the region, with the final destination being Guyana and its invigorating festivities.
The Hero CPL will facilitate both Men’s and Women’s tournaments for its 10th season in 2022, with St. Kitts and Nevis and St, Lucia tentatively earmarked as host countries for other preliminary games.