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The event dubbed “the Windies Comes to Johannesburg” attracted about 250 South African and international media and cricket officials as well as tour operators, businesspeople and entertainment personalities from Johannesburg to the Saints Entertainment Complex, where a Caribbean environment was tastefully recreated … palm trees, waterfalls and all.
Chris Dehring, WWC 2007 Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, promised the guests that this was just a taste of what the Caribbean had to offer, but the “real thing” would be on offer when the West Indies hosted the Cricket World Cup in four years time, and it will be the best ever!
Dehring said that "the Windies Comes to Johannesburg" event would set the tone for the massive effort that would be undertaken to ensure that the region’s tourism industry obtained maximum benefit from the West Indies’ hosting of the CWC 2007.
Chef Athlone Mc Collin, who was sent to South Africa by the Elegant Hotels Group, specially for the event, expressed great satisfaction with the response of the guests to Caribbean culinary delights that he prepared with the South African kitchen staff at the venue.
Popular Caribbean band, Square One, added to “the taste of Caribbean Culture” by thrilling the diverse gathering from Asia, Africa, Europe and the West Indies with music from the length and breadth of the Caribbean, including a Jamaican reggae sweep, featuring most notably, “No Woman No Cry”, rendered soulfully by one of the band’s lead singers, Alison Hinds.
Square One also paid tribute to the cadence and zouk genres of the French-influenced islands and taught the patrons how to “jump and wave” to the soca hits from Antigua & Barbuda to Trinidad & Tobago, as well as their own high-energy classics. At the end of their performance chants of “We want more!” brought the band back for a well-deserved encore.
MC for the evening, Michael Holding, the former Jamaica and West Indies fast bowling legend, interviewed delegates from seven Caribbean countries who were observing the operations of the CWC 2003.
They gave insights into the uniqueness of each country and their preparations for the CWC 2007, while a video feature gave a pictorial overview of the natural beauty and excitement of the Caribbean and the tremendous passion for cricket in the region.
At the end of the evening several patrons were eagerly expressing their desire to visit the Caribbean even before 2007.
The Windies World Cup 2007 Party was covered in a feature on Sky TV that was broadcast globally. (WICB release)