Written by 5:53 am Music

Guyana goes big with CPL Cricket Carnival


Guyana Amazon Warriors fans in a frenzy at Windfall Stadium, Guyana throughout the Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League 2023. Photo courtesy Guyana Amazon Warriors –

AS a Trinidadian, it may appear blasphemous to say that the party leg of the Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is officially under way in Guyana, however the oil-rich country has definitely transformed what it means to host the CPL finals.

The blossoming energy powerhouse hosted them for the primary time in 2022, and is locked in to host the regional T20 showpiece until 2024.

With large recently-discovered deposits of oil and natural gas, Guyana has the fastest-growing economy on this planet. Under President Dr Irfaan Ali, the country achieved real growth of 62 per cent in 2022 and is projected to expand by roughly 25 per cent next 12 months. Thousands and thousands of dollars are being spent on infrastructure projects as Guyana looks to capitalise on its newfound wealth.

With its global status growing alongside its coffers, Guyana not only flexed its financial muscle by agreeing to host the CPL for 3 consecutive years, but is doing it greater and higher.

When one thinks about carnivals within the West Indies, TT, Barbados and Grenada come to mind.

The Barbados Royals sought to set the stage for CPL matches at home (August 30-September 3) with a motorcade through Bridgetown and Oistins featuring giveaways, models in costume and a live DJ on a music truck, but still decibels below the Kadooment-level partying (October 7-14) the island is thought for.

TT boasts what remains to be often called the best show on earth, its globally renowned annual Carnival, but its hosting of the CPL (from 2017-2020) didn’t incorporate the various facets of the annual festival.

An artiste performs during last weekend’s One Guyana concert for Cricket Carnival 2023 in Guyana. Photo courtesy Cricket Carnival 592 –

There have been live half-time and post-game performances throughout the CPL semi-finals and finals in 2017 and 2018, featuring mega-acts comparable to Machel Montano and Ravi B on the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba. The buzzing nightlife on Ariapita Avenue also provided entertainment for fans after CPL matches on the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain.

This 12 months, Trinidad’s leg of the CPL (September 5-10) featured a welcome party hosted by Carib on the Piarco International Airport, in addition to moko jumbies, fire-breathing devils, pan and tassa music in addition to giveaways outside venues on match days.

But Guyana is carving out its own area of interest. It’s making a splash, with 17 days of fun activities coinciding with its hosting of the ultimate leg of the CPL and the ultimate, called Cricket Carnival.

Trinidadian cricket fan Chad Ramgattie at Windfall Stadium in Guyana for CPL 2022. –

Chutney live shows, soca live shows, official bar-hopping to satisfy players, and a world closing concert featuring Machel Montano and Jamaican dancehall stars Spice and Skillibeng were all a part of 2022’s celebrations.

For 2023, Guyana has organised three food festivals, a One Guyana concert, a comedy festival, a steelpan event, a carnival parade and a super-concert on September 23 featuring Montano, Kees and Jamaican artistes Sean Paul and Shenseea. The CPL finals bowls off at Windfall Stadium on September 24 and the parade of the bands will bring the curtain down on September 25.

Imagine if other Caribbean countries took CPL’s catchphrase – the Biggest Party in Sport – as literally as Guyana has.

Chris Watson, head of promoting for CPL, gave Guyana a thumbs up for the initiative.

Guyana Amazon Warriors fans at Windfall Stadium,Guyana for CPL 2022. –

Watson said, “We’ve been so impressed with what the Guyanese government has done around hosting the CPL finals. The quantity of interest these events has generated has been amazing. At once there’s overwhelming demand for flights into Guyana due to each the CPL and the Cricket Carnival.”

Watson believes there’s room for other countries to mirror what Guyana has implemented.

“We expect it will be amazing if there have been more events around CPL. It makes perfect sense to make the week that the CPL is in host countries a spotlight of cultural events.

“We’ve been doing this on a smaller scale ourselves, with support for charitable events in host countries while we’ve got been there this 12 months. But we’d like to see this expand, and can be very keen to work with authorities in host countries to make this occur.”

A hindrance to the all-Caribbean party is the high cost of inter-regional travel, which has been debated ad nauseam. Grenada Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell, on the TT Manufacturers Association’s (TTMA) 2022 awards ceremony, lamented the fee and difficulty of travelling throughout the Caribbean.

“We collectively have to stop making excuses and begin taking motion and putting the resources where it’s required,” he said.

A model in a carnival costume for Cricket Carnival 2023 in Guyana. Photo courtesy Cricket Carnival 592 –

But on September 12, TT state-owned carrier Caribbean Airlines (CAL) announced a partnership with the Guyana Cricket Carnival.

Garvin Medera, CEO of CAL, said, “Carnival and cricket are ingrained in our regional culture…As such, CAL is delighted to support Guyana’s Cricket Carnival, which provides a singular opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in Guyana’s vibrant culture, delectable cuisine and dynamic music scene.”

Asked about regional travel for CPL and the challenges it presents, Watson said, “CPL has all the time been answerable for increased arrivals into host countries: for instance, the 2019 tournament saw an additional 4,500 people arrive into Trinidad across the finals that 12 months.

“In Guyana there’s such demand that there aren’t enough hotel rooms…something that the business community and government are working to repair.”

So, he concluded, “The stumbling block is all the time the problem of inter-Caribbean travel. But we’ve got loads of experience in making this work with authorities to make this as easy as possible.”

Trinidadian Chad Ramgattie, a Trinbago Knight Riders fan, has travelled to Florida (2018) and Guyana (2019 and 2022) to look at CPL matches, and has already booked his flight to Guyana for the 2023 CPL leg.

What motivates him to go to other countries to look at CPL?

“Imagine you within the Oval, you in a sea of red, you may have a number of drinks in your head; the vibes, the atmosphere does be insane. You mostly chasing that feeling, that frenzy.

“My motivation was along the lines of wanting to experience the cricket elsewhere. You wanna see if it’s the identical vibes. You ought to experience a unique atmosphere, provided that I’m a giant cricket fan.”

He said the worth of flights is one factor which dictates where he would go.

Guyana Amazon Warriors players Shai Hope, left, and Romario Shepherd sign a miniature bat for a fan in Guyana. Photo courtesy Guyana Amazon Warriors –

“The associated fee was so low-cost for Florida, cricket was type of secondary. We desired to lime and shop. That was the birth of my first child and I sold it my wife that I’m going to buy.”

But he said the Central Broward Stadium in Ft Lauderdale “lacked a Caribbean vibe.”

He said the experience in Guyana is paying homage to home – but the general package is more enticing.

“The vibe, the people, the culture, the liming, it’s type of just like Trinidad. They’re real fanatical about their side, although they lost five times (in the lads’s finals).”

He was stuffed with praise for the Cricket Carnival concept.

“I feel…that concept to marry the hosting in a two-week period was such a superb idea. I’m undecided if Guyana has a carnival like most Caribbean islands, nevertheless it’s a very good idea and it’s a tourism product that individuals will go to.”

He said the fete/carnival experience remains to be below Trinidad’s standard, though he played with a band in last 12 months’s mas and enjoyed it.

“It was low-cost – US$100. You’ll be able to’t go incorrect.

“I’m all the time comparing my experience in Trinidad to other experiences. It’s unfair to match…but they’re learning – and sooner moderately than later, they’ll fix among the issues.”

He said other countries have to showcase their culture more to draw visitors during CPL.

“I don’t think among the smaller islands are promoting other events as much. It’s all about who they’re gearing towards really – is it the ‘foreigners’ bringing in that US dollar or British pound, or Caribbean (people)? The associated fee in Guyana – none of my friends are millionaires. We go where we could get essentially the most bang for our buck.”

On the launch of Cricket Carnival last 12 months, Guyana’s Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Charles Ramson Jr described it as “a turning point for Guyana, the creation of Guyana as a destination for implausible, world-class events within the region.”

With the financial backing of its robust energy sector, Cricket Carnival has helped Guyana take a giant stride towards achieving that objective. Few would bet against its coming to fruition.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)