The race for hosting of World Cup 2007 Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
May 10, 2004

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THE race has begun in earnest for the hosting of World Cup 2007.

Guyana, one of 12 countries bidding for a share of the estimated 50 games that will be played in the tournament, the premier of international cricket competitions, handed in its bid toward week end.

Our understanding is that the number of bids will be known by May 16.

The countries bidding to host the tournament are doing so with good reason. They expect not only to gain financially in the short term; countries also expect the event to have a lasting impact on the promotion of their territories as top cricketing hosts, a bridging of the gap of distance, time and cultures between and among countries, and stronger pull of tourists and foreign investments for their economies.

For Guyana, another plausible reason beckons. With cricket being described as one of the factors that bring the multi-ethnic Guyanese population together, hosting the games will more than likely develop in Guyanese a greater sense of patriotism and togetherness.

Consequently, the Guyana Government is going to great lengths to host World Cup Cricket 2007.

Tendering for land preparation is currently underway, with the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) removing sugarcane plants from the proposed stadium site.

As Sports Minister Gail Teixeira said earlier this month, Guyana is hoping its investment, through the Government of India, of some US$25 million into the construction of a stadium at Providence, East Bank Demerara, will give Guyana "the best cricket stadium in the region."

Its efforts notwithstanding, not everyone rates Guyana's chances highly.

Wrote the Barbados Daily Nation, for instance, on Friday: "Guyana may have the weakest case because of infrastructure shortcomings. Its record of high rainfall will also weigh against it because of the need for CWC 2007 to maximize the cricket-playing days of the series."

Adds the Daily Nation: "Some countries have gone for the creation of new stadiums. These include Guyana, Jamaica and Antigua, while St Lucia and Grenada have the clear advantage of recently built, modern facilities. All who have played or watched cricket at Saint Lucia's Beauseujour Stadium regard it as the best facility in the region.

"St. Kitts, Bermuda and The Bahamas have also staked their claims even though there is no tradition of those territories attracting international games.

"It is fair to expect that of the countries expressing interest, much attention will be given to the credentials of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbados, with Saint Lucia once regarded as the dark horse in the race, now in tandem with Barbados."

As can be expected, patriotism will be high in the countries bidding to host World Cup Cricket 2007.

President Jagdeo had urged Guyanese to take a positive approach to and be supportive of their country's bid, when he first disclosed plans for Guyana's hosting of the World Cup at a news conference in 2003.

Being supportive, of course, means more than just expressing verbal agreement with Guyana bidding to host the games. It also means cultivating anti-littering habits and substituting a people-friendly, customer satisfaction culture for the indifference that some people who interact with the public currently demonstrate.