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This is the view of Chief Executive Officer 2007 Cricket World Cup, Chris Dehring, the guest speaker at the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) annual awards ceremony, held at the Umana Yana on Friday night.
Dehring warned his audience that they should not believe that the World Cup could not be staged without Guyana, but it should not.
“Technically, we could pull off a world class event amongst four of five venues. If these are the only bids that meet the requirements, then so be it,” Dehring pointed out.
Dehring however called on the Guyanese community, the people, the government, the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) and the business community to rally behind Guyana’s bid and it should not be out of a sense of charity. “The economic rewards are tangible and substantive. The 2007 Cricket World Cup is projected to gross US$300M over the six-week period, generating US$500M in direct foreign exchange inflows to the region and US$750M in economic activity. It will be a boon to direct and indirect employment and will create priceless international media exposure for countries successful in hosting official events. Entire tourist industries could be built and rebuilt by such unprecedented marketing exposure…” Dehring asserted.
Dehring said his greatest fear is not the West Indies ability to put on the best World Cup ever; it is the ugly head of insularity that he fears most. “We must come together as a region at this time or it will surely fail. And we must not be our own enemy. Believe me, there will be countless critics around the world expecting us and wanting us to fail. After all, how is it the West Indies is getting such a major tournament with all the economic reward when they have never hosted anything of that magnitude before.”
Dehring however said he expected constructive criticism “as we go about our task and make tough decisions we must make, but we also expect loyalty to the cause - the Caribbean cause of putting on the greatest cricket show the world has ever seen.”
Guyana, like every other country in the hemisphere must be competitive, Dehring stressed. “We all know you can be. I am not an expert on how Guyana can sell itself in the bidding process, but certainly for me, the beauty and mystique of the interior of Guyana provide the alternative to the typical ‘sun and beach’ attraction of the islands in the Caribbean. That must be a differentiating factor and maybe that’s your competitive advantage.
“But all of you will be far more able to determine your own advantages as you put together your bid,” Dehring challenged Guyana.
The WICB official congratulated the awardees and thanked the GCB for the opportunity for him to speak on the important topic.