Ignoring pessimists pays off — President Jagdeo
By Mark Ramotar
Guyana Chronicle
February 23, 2007

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PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo believes it was his government’s positive outlook and attitude, aided by its outright decision not to listen to the “pessimist generation” in Guyana that caused this country to be on track for the successful hosting of the upcoming Cricket World Cup (CWC) tournament.

Speaking at the gala opening ceremony of Buddy’s International Hotel Wednesday night, President Jagdeo said that if his government had listened to the detractors and the pessimists in society, Guyana would probably have just taken the simple route of allowing the great opportunity of hosting the CWC mega event “to just pass us by”.

He recalled that a couple of years ago, the opportunity to host the third largest sporting event in the world, CWC, came to the Caribbean region.

The President said all the regional leaders were very excited about this opportunity because they rightfully thought that this could be a good chance to catapult the region onto the world’s stage and create a much stronger “Caribbean brand”, with its obvious spin-off benefits, such as increased tourism, increased investment flows and visitor arrivals.

“In Guyana, when we said that the government is interested in putting in a bid for some of the games, some people though that we were crazy,” the President told the large gathering at the opening of the hotel at Providence, East Bank Demerara.

Mr. Jagdeo said the country’s journey to readiness for the hosting of the world’s third largest sporting event has been tumultuous, but it was well worth it.

“In our country, we have two generations of people and it has nothing to do with the chronology of life, it has to do with attitude. There is a generation that has buzz words like `don’t’…and the other generation speaks about `we must’…we have to find a way if we are going to develop.”

He noted that the ‘don’t do’ generation got busy to work and everyday began churning out negative comments such as “this is a waste of time, you people are not going to be ready, you people have to be crazy”.

“We could have taken the easy route, we could have said why worry about all this work…because for the past two years it has been just work at every level in our society (to get where we are today).”

“We could have taken the easy route and say, ‘let the opportunity pass’, but we didn’t and we chose the hard route which we knew would bring a lot of work, but we knew in the long run it will help to change our country and so we put in a bid (for the hosting of the games).”

He said the first surprise the pessimists got was when Guyana was awarded matches from the Super Eight round, instead of the first round matches.

With the opening of Buddy’s International hotel, and the Guyana National stadium completed, also at Providence, Guyana has met the International Cricket Council’s requirements for hosting the Super Eight games in March.

President Jagdeo said the hotel is important in the chain of events required to host Cricket World Cup here because it will provide accommodation to help Guyana meet its obligations.

According to the President, hosting CWC does not only mean having a stadium to hold thousands of visitors but, accommodation of foreign officials and visitors is equally important.

“We did not just need a stadium to host World Cup cricket; it is truly a national effort, and that is why we never made it a partisan issue. We thought that this would be a good opportunity to bring everyone on board. We had to find different things but, the second most important thing was hotel space,” President Jagdeo said.