Volunteers gear for CWC
By Mark Ramotar
February 18, 2007
MORE than a thousand volunteers were yesterday officially charged with being true ambassadors of this country as they strive to make a difference in ensuring that the expected influx of tourists for the Cricket World Cup (CWC) tournament will leave with an unforgettable experience of what true Guyanese hospitality is all about.
The volunteers, recruited specifically for the CWC tournament, were also urged to maintain a friendly and hospitable attitude that will portray a good image to the thousands of visitors expected during the mega event Guyana and several other countries of the Caribbean will be hosting in a few weeks.
The underlying theme of patriotism, passion and trust as the volunteers showcase to the world the renowned Guyanese hospitality, was emphasized by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony, at an orientation workshop for the Guyana Volunteer Programme, at St. Stanislaus College on Brickdam, Georgetown.
The programme involves more than 1,000 volunteers and it is the first initiative in Guyana that comprises so many for a single event.
It was developed under the auspices of President Bharrat Jagdeo and stemmed from an activity last year to enlist a maximum of 350 volunteers for the CWC event. More than 750 applications were received for that programme and the government embarked on the development of a special volunteer programme.
The volunteers will participate in various sectors preparing Guyana for hosting CWC and will be geared to provide necessary assistance and information to foreign and local visitors.
Anthony highlighted the important role that each volunteer will have to play as hosts and ensuring that visitors are impressed with what Guyana has to offer.
He noted that construction of the new cricket stadium at Porvidence, East Bank Demerara, provision of adequate transportation and security, are some aspects to prepare for CWC but said the attitude and image portrayed by Guyanese is another critical component.
The minister further stated that the government has plans to continue the Guyana Volunteer Programme after CWC so that the services and talents of the volunteers can be utilised in other events.
“Cricket is the catalyst for this event and I want to use this opportunity to tell you how much we have done in terms of organising this mega event…we built a stadium from cane fields and within two short years we have a brand new stadium at Providence – regarded as one of the best in the Caribbean,” Anthony posited..
“But apart from this beautiful stadium and nice outfield and beautiful pitch that bounce and have all the night things and so on….it takes a lot more to organize such a mega event when one considers the logistical arrangements involving transportation, accommodation, security, and a few other things.”
Anthony also told the volunteers that despite the challenge of working with different people from different organizations, they must all come together and “in one confident voice, say we are ready for these games in Guyana”.
“I am proud to say to you that we are ready and prepared to host matches in the Cricket World Cup (CWC) tournament in Guyana.”
He also told the large gathering that their role as volunteers is “very, very important.” “I cannot overstate that fact because if one tourist or one visitor has a bad experience here, then they will go back and tell a lot of people and that will have a multiplying effect.”
“We have to make sure that the experience that visitors get here is an unforgettable experience, and that is why you are here…to help that person/s get that unforgettable Guyanese experience.”
Chief Executive Officer of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Mr. Karan Singh, and Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) Ms. Indira Anandjit, also implored the volunteers to prepare themselves for all the challenges associated with their duties and to overcome these obstacles.
Anandjit was especially stern in her charge to the volunteers to ensure that they present themselves in a good and professional manner at all times.
“I know going and standing out there is not an easy job; you have to be prepared to talk to people, but it’s all about national pride…so I would like to appeal to you that you are embarking on a very important programme and the service you deliver and the image you project is what people will remember for a very long time.”
She also thanked the volunteers for being a part of the programme, saying “I know that you will do our country proud”.
“You have to, at all times, be a professional – you must look good, smell good, brush your teeth…you have to be tidy at all times because these things matter; so don’t stand at the street corner digging ‘boo-boo’ from your eyes…”
Coordinator of the Guyana Volunteers Programme, Mr. Majeed Hussein, said the response to the scheme was overwhelming, with more than 1,000 persons applying to be volunteers in a relatively short space of time.
He said there will be 39 information booths around Georgetown and about 15 medical tents and persons have volunteered to work in those areas.
“We have already mapped out the areas where we will be setting up these booths and tents and we have also received the necessary permission from City Hall,” Hussein told the Sunday Chronicle.