BY SEVTLANA MARSHALL
Acting Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali
The Limacol Caribbean Premier League (LCPL) has been touted as one of the greatest investments in the Caribbean in recent years. This is according to acting Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali.
“We believe that the LCPL is one of the greatest investments in the sporting tourism sector in the Caribbean,” Ali said, while addressing the opening ceremony of the Park Vue Hotel on Sunday.
According to the tourism minister, 2014 will be a “huge year” for Guyana, as he anticipates another massive LCPL tournament.
“Very shortly, there will be a forum that is designed to reduce the burden in persons travelling within the region to see the matches all across the Caribbean,” he said.
He added that Guyana will be pushing to stage more of the matches. During the LCPL, tourists from across the world will get an opportunity to explore Guyana.
The Tourism Ministry has tagged 2014, the “Year of Exploration, the Year of Opportunities”.
“You are standing in a land that has been named one of the finest eco-tourism destinations in the world, you are standing in the bosom of nature, you are standing in the next big thing in the tourism sector for nature and adventure tourism,” said Ali.
The NEW GPC INC has been resoundingly praised for its role in the 2013 LCPL.
In December, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) presented the company with the Business of the Year Award (large) for its investment in the LCPL T20 cricket tournament.
Queens Atlantic Investment Inc (QAII) was recognised for the acquisition of the franchise for the Guyana Amazon Warriors team, the successful hosting of the inaugural LCPL T20 tournament, sponsorship of the league under the name Limacol CPL, and the introduction of Limacol as a global brand.
GCCI President Clinton Urling told Guyana Times that QAII’s achievements have been “remarkable” by any measure or standard when one considers the local, regional and international impact of the investments made.
He said that the business community was proud of the fact that a local company had reached this level and was now solidifying its place as a major regional and international player.
Urling disclosed that the chamber also recognised the positive effect the tournament had on boosting enthusiasm in the area of sport and generally creating upliftment for Guyanese and Caribbean Community (Caricom) citizens.
He said the tournament lived up to its expectations and filled the void created following the collapse of the Stanford T20 tournament.
“No other project, no other investment from any Guyanese firm could have topped that investment that was made by the NEW GPC in relation to sponsorship of the LCPL,” he said. “It was indeed the most enormous investment and far reaching.”
There was also massive commercial support for the tournament, which has never been seen for any sporting event in the region.
Even before a ball was bowled, 37 commercial partners were on board, including nine league sponsors, an apparel partner and sponsors for each of the six franchises, as well as four national tourism boards supporting the event.
Several high-profile individuals from the world of entertainment and business got involved and threw their weight behind the league, with Hollywood actors Mark Wahlberg and Gerard Butler taking equity shares in the Barbados Tridents and Jamaica Tallawahs, respectively, while Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group backed the Antigua Hawksbills.
In Guyana, the NEW GPC supported the Guyana Amazon Warriors and the company has since pledged its long-term commitment to sport development in Guyana and the region as a whole.