Minister Norton underscores economic impact of Guyana Softball Cup
By Avenash Ramzan
The Guyana Softball Cup 7 was launched on Wednesday morning with Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility for Sport, Dr. George Norton, highlighting the economic impact of such a tournament on the local economy.
Delivering feature remarks at the launch, which took place at the upper flat of the Demerara Cricket Club in Lance Gibbs Street, Queenstown, Dr. Norton said the three-day competition is also another element in fostering social cohesion.
The tournament, organised by the Guyana Floodlights Softball Cricket Association and sponsored by a host of local companies, is billed for November 3-5 with the category finals billed to be played under lights at the Demerara Cricket Club.
In endorsing the competition, Dr. Norton said it is more than just teams and players battling for prizes and softball supremacy, as there are numerous other benefits that the country and its people can derive.
“This tournament will attract overseas and local teams, benefitting not only those who are participating, but also giving a boost to sports in general and sports tourism in particular here in Guyana,” Dr. Norton asserted.
He continued, “It will certainly benefit Guyanese economically, socially, culturally and I want to add mentally as well. Money of course will be injected into the local economy since tourist destinations, hotels, beverage companies, taxi services, food suppliers and entertainment centres will all benefit from this activity. The tournament will help to raise the sports profile of Guyana.”
The Minister also highlighted the event’s ability to be an agent of social cohesion, a philosophy the current administration is promoting.
Meanwhile, newly appointed Chairman of the Guyana Softball Cup, Anil Beharry, pointed out that apart from the actual on-field action, there will be several spectator-oriented activities beyond the boundary.
“We have gate prizes up for grabs so we encourage persons to purchase their tickets in advance. You can purchase as many tickets as you wish- it’s a $1,000 for a ticket and the gate prizes include trips for two persons to Aruwai Resort, Lake Mainstay and Arrowpoint and that’s with the compliments of Survival Travel Agency. In addition to that we have 10 food hampers which will be drawn on the final day of the tournament; five each sponsored by Gain Mart and Nauth Motor Spares,” Beharry outlined.
Like previous years, the tournament will once again attract foreign competitors with as many as nine teams set to vie for top honours in the Open and Masters categories.
The overseas teams are New York Softball Cricket League Masters, Tri State Masters, New York Hustlers, President’s XI, Marine Masters, South Florida Softball Cricket League Masters, Orlando Masters, Canada Masters and Tri State Muslim League Masters. They will be joined by 15 local teams.
PARTNERSHIP WITH DCC
Roger Harper, the acting president of the Demerara Cricket Club, said the club looks forward to once again play host to the Finals Day on November 5. He congratulated the organisation on its ability to stage the tournament for the seventh time.
“The fact that it’s the seventh occasion means that you must have been doing some things right and I think that if you were able to attract that number of (foreign) teams, it will be at least 99 visitors coming into our country spending at least five days- it’s great for our tourism product and it raises the profile of sports in Guyana as well, so I want to congratulate you on this,” Harper pointed out.
Harper, the former West Indies all-rounder and coach, also hailed the fantastic relationship the club shares with the Guyana Floodlights Softball Cricket Association, pointing to their partnership realising the installation of floodlights at the venue.
“The fact that this is the fourth edition being held at the Demerara Cricket Club means that we have been playing a great part in making the tournament memorable and we look forward to being a grand host here this time as well,” Harper reckoned.
The champion team in the Open category will receive $800,000, while winner of the Masters division is assured of $600,000. Player-of-the-Series in both categories will each receive a gold bat pendant, sponsored by Steve’s Jewellery.
Matches will be played at the Police, Guyana Defence Force, Demerara Cricket Club, Malteenoes and Georgetown Cricket Club grounds.
The tournament has received corporate support from Stag Beer, Rubis Guyana, Trophy Stall, Steve’s Jewellery, Clear Waters, Busta, Rohan Auto Spares, A&R Jewanram Printery, WJ Enterprise, Mike’s Pharmacy, Ramchand Auto Spares and Survival Group of Business.
In 2016, Speedboat XI pulled off a massive upset by dethroning defending champions Regal All-Stars to win the Open segment, while Floodlights XI outplayed Fishermen XI to win the Masters category.