–President Ali says CPL is more than just cricket, event has the potential to catalyse regional growth
THE Caribbean Premier League (CPL) must be seen as more than just an event but a platform for the Caribbean region to market itself globally.
This was the call made to CARICOM leaders by President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, as he addressed CPL’s 10th anniversary dinner at the Pegasus Hotel, on Friday.
He said the time is now if the region wants to differentiate itself in the exciting world of sports and catalyse its tourism product.
“I think every single government must come on board. We have to give as much support to this tournament as possible because this tournament has much more than the event and the game of cricket in it for us.
This tournament has the ability to bring our people in this region together, cementing us, and fusing our culture. Giving us an opportunity to meet each other, to network and these are things you cannot attach a value to,” President Ali said.
He is of the view that the regional leaders, the private sector and all stakeholders should find ways to work with CPL to create a product that will be one of the best globally.
Dr. Ali said the CPL showcases that cricket is alive in the region and also reminded the audience that cricket forms part of the culture of the people in the Caribbean.
“We cannot expect West Indies cricket and the players to do better if we are not involved in building a system and supporting a system that helps them to develop and help them to get better. We have to be part of that system,” the Head of State said.
In Guyana, according to President Ali, the government will be making funds available to support sports at the school level.
“We are looking at two to three years to have at least one new stadium added to the country because we are looking down the road… that is why we have developed a product for Guyana and this product can be for the region, that is the Cricket Carnival,” he said.
President Ali said that he is optimistic that with innovative thinking, the Caribbean Premier League can be the biggest event in the world. With that, the head of state called for every Caribbean country to adopt the CPL as their own.
The Government of Guyana, he said, stands fully committed to the CPL, Caribbean cricket, the Cricket West Indies and the players who make the game possible.
This is the first year Guyana will be hosting the finals of the CPL. Guyana will also be hosting the finals over the next two years.
First Lady Arya Ali; Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips; Hero CPL’s CEO Pete Russell and several ministers of government also attended Friday’s event. (DPI)