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When the first ball is bowled in the three-day match between Demerara and Essequibo at the Everest ground, it will be 27 long and fruitful years for the GTM Group of Companies’ sponsorship of the Under-19 Inter-county tournament.
At the 2003 launching of the competition on February 19 last, outgoing Managing Director of GTM, Errol Cheong, said the company remains committed to youths as “they are our tomorrow and if we don’t there can be no tomorrow.”
Cheong, who served as Managing Director for the past twenty years, has been impressed with the working relationship GTM has had over the past 20 years with the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB)
GTM sponsorship has grown from around $67 000 when it began to over $2M and they have also contributed to Guyana’s six consecutive victories in the regional Under-19 tournament (1992-1997), and to the many West Indian players the tournaments have churned out.
Guyana’s outstanding success at the West Indies youth level has been as a result of the excellent part played by GTM’s sponsorship over the long years from 1977. The list is long and impressive -Ramnaresh Sarwan, Carl Hooper, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Clayton Lambert, Reon King, Mahendra Nagamootoo, Narsingh Deonarine and Ron Matthews.
And long-standing coordinator of the GTM tournament Sydney Seaforth said apart from the sponsorship money given to the GCB, the company caters for the winning prize money and other cash incentives plus caps and shirts for the players.
This year’s tournament will see the three teams -defending three-day champions Berbice, Demerara and Essequibo - engaging one another twice. The same format applies for the one-day competition where Demerara are the defending champions.
GTM must be applauded for staying on the course for twenty-seven long years and in the process helping to ensure the continued growth of youth cricket in Guyana.