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Jamaica’s Ambassador-at-Large and West Indies cricket legend, Courtney Walsh, has urged Jamaicans in the United Kingdom to support the West Indies cricket team during next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC), noting that their backing would determine the fortunes of the region’s players.
“The West Indies team will be hosted in Jamaica and they need the support from day one. If we support the team and give them the energy before the World Cup starts, they will have no other option but to play well, so it’s very important that we give support from now,” he stated.
Walsh, who was addressing a recent reception for the Jamaican marketing team at the High Commission in London, noted further, that the support of the overseas Jamaicans, was critical to the overall success of the tournament.
“It is very important that you come out and give support because it starts in Jamaica and it is very important to get it right. We don’t want to let the country down,” he said.
Executive Director of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Robert Bryan, noted that the Cricket World Cup was the third largest sporting event in the world and the biggest in the Caribbean.
“It will last 59 days, it involves 61 games held across nine countries (in the region) with an estimated media platform of 2.5 to three billion worldwide. Some 220,000 patrons are expected to come to the region during this period. The eyes of the world will be on us in every sense, our countries will be on the world stage,” he said.
Mr. Bryan pointed out that Jamaica, as one of the hosts of the tournament, would be responsible for planning and executing 12 official events including the opening ceremony, which would see the largest contingent of visiting heads of state.
The opening ceremony, he said, would “most likely set the tone for the rest of tournament. Jamaica has a number of responsibilities and we are ready; our facilities will be ready”.
“It’s an opportunity to show the world that Jamaica is capable of taking care of its visitors, that Jamaica is capable of providing a secure environment, that it is able to produce and execute to the highest professional standards, the third largest sporting event in the world,” Mr. Bryan added.
Appealing to nationals abroad to participate in the World Cup, he said, “we can’t do it without you. Make it the biggest homecoming ever. We need to ensure that when the images hit the international television platform, the best of Jamaica is what the world sees and that requires you to be a part of the exercise.”
Deputy Director of Tourism, David Shields, in his remarks at the reception, informed that an additional 1,200 hotel rooms would be available for the event, while Air Jamaica’s Director for the Cricket World Cup, Richard Lue, urged cricket lovers to plan their itineraries well in advance through official travel agents, who were licensed to sell packages and tickets for the games.