By Sean Devers
For the 10th year in a row Trinidadian Beverage Company SM Jaleel, has under its
Busta brand, committed its support behind the Essequibo Cricket Board’s (ECB) 50-over three-day cricket Festival which is set to commence on November 21 with $1million worth of Busta products.
Robert Selman, CEO of Guyana Beverage Inc, producers of Busta Soft drinks, started the Guyanese branch in Festival City 20 years ago and said 10 years ago when the sponsorship first began Essequibo’s cricket was at a very low standard.
“For the last two years Essequibo has began producing quality players and I would like to think that our continued sponsorship has helped with that,” Selman opined.
Selman expressed satisfaction with how things are going in terms of the Company growing and of course, “…once we continue to get bigger then tournaments like the Busta Cricket Festival in Essequibo will benefit. It is with the support of everyone that we are here today,” Selman, a Trinidadian who has lived here for 20 years, stressed.
In addition to the soft drinks which will be sold by the ECB to fund the tournament which commences with a March-past of all of the teams on the morning of November 21, Colored Busta T-Shirts will be provided for the top eight teams, while refreshments will be provided for the players from the semi-final stage.
ECB President Fizul Bacchus commended Busta for the sponsorship adding that players like
West Indies ‘A’ team fast bowler, the Fredericks brothers, Kemo Paul, Ricardo and Anthony Adams and Kevin Boodie have all performed well in recent times and reminded that all of these players came out of the Busta competition.
Former ECB President Alvin Johnson, a former National youth and senior team Manager and now the assistant Treasurer of the ECB, informed when he brokered the sponsorship deal 10 years ago as ECB Head, there was virtually no cricket being played in Essequibo due to the prohibitive cost to travel due to the size of Guyana’s largest County.
“We have to thank Busta in a big way for sustaining their sponsorship for a decade and we are seeing the fruits now with the emergence of quite a few players on the national teams at various levels,” Johnson said.
Johnson managed the National senior team this year but was replaced by Chairman of Selectors Rayon Griffith, who now holds the position of assistant Coach/Manager for the Guyana Jaguars. Johnson informed that when the competition began it was intended to be a Festival but the format was changed.
“We have gone back to the old format where we start the tournament with an opening Ceremony at the NOC ground before the first round commence later in the day at Pomona, Anna Regina, Imam Bacchus and the NOC grounds which are all on the Essequibo Coast,” Johnson explained.
Meanwhile, Busta also extended its sponsorship of the Enterprise Busta Sports Club for that entity to hold the 14-team Busta t20 tournament scheduled to start next month.
NK Omar, Vice-President of the East Coast Demerara club, which has five teams playing in East Coast cricket, informed that the club need the approval of the East Coast Cricket Board to run off their competition but since the main reason for the event is the get the youths meaningfully occupied, he does see a problem in getting the Board’s blessings.
Present at both presentations were Selman, Marketing Manager of Guyana Beverage Inc Shameeza Yadram and Finance Controller Trinidadian Godfrey Delisle.
Busta Festival Essequibo Fixtures:
Wakenaam vs Bartica at Pomona
North vs Central at Anna Regina
Pomeroon vs East Bank at Imam Bacchus
Leguan vs South at NOC
Nov 22: semi-finals
Nov 23: Final
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