CWC would help in cementing stronger national relations
• Jagdeo

Kaieteur News
April 4, 2007

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The rains yesterday did not deter President Bharrat Jagdeo from witnessing the match between Ireland and South Africa and the Head of State took the opportunity to meet cricket lovers and visitors as he walked about the stadium and checked out souvenir shops.

Eminent cricket commentator/journalist Tony Cozier was able to interview the President during the fixture to garner his thoughts on what cricket means to this nation.

“For a country as ours with a tradition of ethnic difficulties, I think it brings our people together. Cricket has an important role to play and sports generally, in bringing our people closer. This tournament, because it was a national project would help a lot in cementing stronger national relations.”

Traditionally cricket has been played in Guyana at the Georgetown Cricket Club ground, Bourda, and Cozier told the Head of State that there is a ‘certain sadness' attached to the fact that the venue will no longer be hosting major international matches. ‘We want to recreate the old atmosphere of Bourda that is why we retained the old, manual scoreboard. We are going to plant a lot of trees, we are going to recreate the atmosphere,” President Jagdeo said.

The president was questioned about what role he sees for the stadium after the world cup matches and he disclosed that it would be a multi-purpose facility.

“We have worked out what it would take to amortise the cost of building the stadium. We can make it sustainable because it was built with grant and soft loans.”

In soliciting his views about the magnificent stadium Guyana was able to deliver, Cozier reminded the president that there were criticisms from many that the facility would not have been completed in time for Cricket World Cup.

“I think people have low expectations of us but, we managed to confound all of those who did not expect us to be ready, everything was ready…the airport, security, stadium, accommodation, volunteers...”

The Head of State was high in praise of the 1000-odd volunteers working at the stadium throughout the period of March 28 to April 9.

The president did not miss the opportunity to advocate for his country and extol its virtues.

“I hope many more people would come to Guyana . We are the size of Great Britain . We have some of the most beautiful facilities in the world; natural tourist spots …80 percent of our country is untouched, so we hope those adventurous tourists would come out and see our country.”

There was a fair turnout at the fourth super eight match in Guyana , despite the inclement weather. Hundreds of school children witnessed the match, an initiative of the Ministry of Education which announced last week that 3000 children would be allowed in free.

The next match is on Saturday (April 7) between Bangladesh and South Africa while the final match will be played next Monday (April 9) when Ireland take on New Zealand