Great Opportunity Ahead:
Cricket World Cup 2007
Good Day Saint Lucia, hope you had a good weekend.
With the carnival season behind us, I want to urge you to turn your minds
towards what can be deemed the greatest event ever to come to Caribbean shores.
By now, every St. Lucian knows that our country is one of the nations selected
to host Cricket World Cup, 2007. Not only were we awarded matches, but we have a
special role of hosting the English team, which travels with supporters
numbering in the thousands.
It was indeed a proud moment for me, and I’m sure for all of you, as I sat there
in front of my television set witnessing the unveiling of one of St. Lucia’s
greatest opportunities. No sooner had the announcement been made, a young local
businessman called me on the telephone and shouted ecstatically: “Chief, we did
it!” I knew exactly how he felt. And just when I thought it could not get
better, the big news was announced: St Lucia was awarded one of the two
semi-final matches, as well as first round matches.
St. Lucia got exactly what we asked for: host to England and its huge entourage,
early matches and a semi-final game.
IMPACT OF THE ENGLISH TEAM
The English too are looking forward to being here in 2007. Following the
announcement, the London Times had a story headlined “English Team Gets Dream
Island” – referring, of course, to St. Lucia playing host to England. Already,
St. Lucia is getting great publicity in one of our key tourism markets for an
event two and a half years away.
It is estimated that between 12 and 15 thousand English visitors will come to
our shores to watch their team play in the opening round matches. We hope that
we can so impress them with our warmth, hospitality and facilities that they
will make St. Lucia their base for the entire tournament and simply commute to
whatever island in which England’s matches are being played in the second round.
We have to prepare our island and our people to be the focus of the estimated
1.4 billion television audience that will watch the Cricket World Cup.
But we can only benefit from this “once in a lifetime” event if we, as
individuals and communities join forces -- from businesses to the Public
Officers to private citizens. We have been reminded by the ICC that although the
Beausejour Cricket ground is the location for the matches, St. Lucia is the
venue. Therefore, our preparation for the World Cup has to be a truly national
However, now is not the time for us to pat ourselves on the shoulder; the hard
work has only just started. We have to get our country ready. St. Lucia has to
NEW CHALLENGES WILL UNFOLD
Our local organizing committee, World Cup St. Lucia, has a huge task on its
hands, but the burden of preparing our country really falls on all of us. There
will be challenges to overcome in transportation, security, accommodation, food
supply, solid waste disposal, water supply and environmental enhancement, to
name but a few areas. I know that much thought and planning has already gone
into developing solutions to these challenges and I expect that the local
organizing committee will soon engage in wide-ranging discussions and public
education programmes to discuss and explain the ways in which we can overcome
With challenges, however, also come opportunities. I am hoping that many will
take advantage of the entrepreneurial activities that will develop around the
World Cup. Some of them are obvious – such as Bed and Breakfast-type
accommodation; the potential for our farmers to sell significantly more produce
as we seek to feed large numbers of visitors; increased business for our taxi
drivers, car rental companies and minibus operators; and an unprecedented volume
of clientele for restaurants and entertainment providers. However, this only
scratches the surface. In Sydney, the capital of Australia, the benefits of the
2000 Olympics on tourism are still being felt, while it was also found that
several large companies commenced operations in Australia following the Olympic
Games. Our country, our people, our services and our product offering will be on
display for the world to see and it is up to us to decide what sort of image we
If we portray an image of St. Lucia as a beautiful island, with a friendly,
hospitable and industrious people, efficiently-run services, a clean and
sustainable environment, a diversified tourism product, an investor-friendly
business climate, a facilitating public service and a dynamic and pro-active
private sector, then the world is our oyster – in other words, the sky is the
I know that St. Lucians can and will rise to the challenge. I have faith in our
ability to reach the highest levels of human achievement. This, after all, is
the country with the majestic and towering World Heritage acclaimed Pitons; it
is the country of Sir Arthur Lewis and the Honourable Derek Walcott; it is the
little island that holds the Presidency of the United Nations.
We have been blessed with a talent and ability that allow us, not only to
succeed, but to excel. Let us harness our collective abilities and talents and
make Cricket World Cup 2007 in St. Lucia the best ever in what by then will be
the 32-year history of the tournament.
GET ON BOARD
Over the coming months we will be actively engaged with all sectors of society
to share our plans and programmes at all levels, with a view to making this
event successful for all of us. We are also eager to hear from you as we partner
to make this World Cup even better.
We have adopted a local theme under which banner World Cup 2007 would be
planned. It is dubbed, “A Nation Prepares.” It serves as a rallying call uniting
us for a single purpose, regardless of our political affiliation. The
preparation for the World Cup has to be a daily undertaking by everyone.
The work of the various committees which worked tirelessly and selflessly to
prepare our successful bid cannot go unrecognized. These dedicated men and women
of different political complexions volunteered precious time to prepare the bid
book. The rest is history. We are in the process of arranging an appropriate
occasion to honour all those who contributed to this effort.
We will continue to need the help of volunteers in various fields, from first
aid to security, from vending to the intricate planning process. It requires all
hands on deck! This is a rare opportunity in the life of our nation – our
actions will determine how much we benefit from it. If you are ready to serve
your country, Cricket World Cup 2007 provides the perfect platform. Let’s get on
The investment which we make for this World Cup will prove to the world that St.
Lucia has exactly what it takes to host any international event. It must also
mean to us that we have laid all building blocks to continue developing
ourselves, our services and our infrastructure. I am excited about what is about
to happen for St. Lucia as I know you are too.
I will be giving many more radio addresses on World Cup 2007, which you should
not miss. So, until next Monday, take care of yourselves and have a wonderful