Last year, patriotism, national pride and excitement ran high as thousands of Guyanese flocked the Guyana National Stadium at Providence to be part of several exciting Hero Caribbean Premier League home matches; which no doubt had a continuing redounding positive impact on the country’s overall economic and tourism development.
It must be stated from the outset that the Hero CPL had managed also to unify a very divided Guyana, as persons from all sections of society — regardless of their race, creed, sexual orientation and political persuasion — rallied behind the so far very competitive Guyana Amazon Warriors.
So high was the amount of unity and cohesiveness, last year during the final three weeks of the tournament, that it is widely believed the tournament stood out as one of the clear examples of avenues that could be used to push the Government’s social cohesion agenda by the utilisation of sport as a mechanism to bridge social and racial gaps that exist in our society.
It was this unity and display of cohesiveness that have no doubt motivated and inspired the good performances delivered by the players and organisers of the 2017 tournament thus far. While Guyana would have again lost its bid to host the finals of the game in 2017, Providence remains one of the most talked about, hyped, and packed venues when compared to the others in the league as far as hosting international cricket events and CPL matches are concerned. In fact, the country this year got even closer, as it will host two play-off matches.
Also, the Hero CPL games this year are coming to Guyana at a time when there has been a notable slowdown in domestic trade and business. Interestingly, the tournament came to the country at a time when small businesses are also struggling to catch their hands because of various factors which were working against them while depleting their expected levels of revenue and profitability.
It therefore provides these small businesses with an opportunity to maximise their profits through sale of small portions of confectionaries near the stadium and at other Hero CPL-associated parties and events. It will, no doubt, provide those who signed up officially for a number of initiatives with another means of garnering revenue, because scores of overseas-based Guyanese will return home to be part of the fun.
Larger-scale businesses and companies will also benefit tremendously from the hosting of CPL matches here, and while many of them are expected to maximise the marketing opportunities available via the tournament to boost sales and achieve brand popularity, others will settle for just mounting promotions to give back to their loyal customers by providing them opportunities to join the biggest party in sport.
With the Hero CPL, the occupancy rates at local hotels, bars, sports clubs, and community shops will be significantly boosted, especially those that would have access to the televised games being broadcast.
The A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change Government’s endorsement of the event, and the laudable involvement of key ministers in local Hero CPL events demonstrate their commitment to the development of sport, the success of the Guyana Amazon Warriors, and the upwards movement of the direct and indirect benefits to the country’s young tourism sector because of market access and promotional opportunities for Destination Guyana.
Research shows that the Guyana economy leads others in the league as far as the benefits it accrues from the injection of millions of US dollars each year it hosts the tournament, leaving out the other noteworthy indirect benefits.
As such, more companies should get on-board the league by entering into mutual and lucrative deals with the Guyana Franchise owners, and providing various forms of endorsement and sponsorship for the Amazon Warriors whenever allowed and applicable according to the existing rules and agreement framework.
Secondly, the Government, led by its Education, Tourism and Business ministries, must do much more to press the owners of the Hero CPL and the regional organisers to bring the semifinals and finals to Guyana, even if it means investing more resources and incentives for this to happen.
The truth is, Guyana is a cricket-starved nation, and the Hero CPL provides an opportunity for the hunger of cricket lovers and supporters to be satisfied, even if a lot of other regional and international matches are not brought, as we would like, to the country.
As the Amazon Warriors continue their bid for dominance in this year’s tournament, every Guyanese is duty bound to stand solidly behind the team and its franchise owners, who have brought so much entertainment, cricket fun and countless opportunities for business to these shores over the last few years via their continued sponsorship and involvement in the league.