The cricket-lover’s instant guide to the Caribbean

Sun, sea, sand, nutmeg fields and rainforests. Apart from thrilling cricket, what else can you expect as you follow the World Cup tournament

Artist’s impression of Providence Stadium. Photograph courtesy the Guyana Local Organising CommitteeArtist’s impression of the Arnos Vale Stadium, Kingstown, St. Vincent. Photograph courtesy the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Local Organising CommitteeArtist’s impression of the Kensington Oval, Barbados. Photograph courtesy Barbados Local Organising CommitteeQueen’s Park Oval at sunrise. Photograph by Mark LyndersayQueen’s Park Stadium, Grenada. Photograph courtesy the Grenada Local Organising Committeesportbeat-84-13_1

Antigua and Barbuda

Sun, sand and sea have made Antigua and Barbuda popular both with families and as a port of call for cruise ships. Tourism accounts for about half the annual GDP, and around a third of all visitors are American. A flourishing offshore financial services sector has helped make Antigua and Barbuda one of the Caribbean’s wealthiest nations.

Antigua is the more developed of the two main islands; a third, Redonda, is uninhabited. The population of 77,000 is spread across 170 square miles, with the capital (St John’s) the most heavily populated area. The coral island of Barbuda, 30 miles north of Antigua, is popular with hikers, nature lovers, cyclists and beachcombers. It is home to a spectacular breeding colony of frigate birds.

Kayaking, sailing, snorkelling and diving are popular around both islands, with a number of wrecks to explore. Sights to see in Antigua include the yachts in Nelson’s Dockyard on the south coast, and the fortifications at picturesque English Harbour and Shirley Heights nearby. The latter is a great location for popular Sunday evening jump-ups, with reggae and steel band music mixing with plentiful supplies of food and drink.

The national dish is fungie (a cornmeal-based dish similar to polenta) and pepper pot. Seafood is popular, and the islands are well known for their lobster.

Located in the middle of the Leeward Islands, Antigua and Barbuda were first inhabited by pre-ceramic Amerindians. Christopher Columbus appeared in 1493, and following Spanish and French settlements the islands became a British colony in 1667.

Sugar cane was the main crop for over three centuries. The British imported African and Irish Catholic slaves to service the plantations. Antigua and Barbuda became independent in 1981 under Vere Bird, the first prime minister (1981-94).

The currency is the East Caribbean dollar.
World Cup Venue

Name: Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium

Location: North Sound, midway between St John’s and the V C Bird International Airport

Capacity: 20,000, of which 10,000 will be permanent

Status: New stadium built in partnership with the People’s Republic of China

Matches: Super 8s
Contact Information

Local Organising Committee: World Cup Antigua Inc., Corn Alley and Tanner Street, St John’s; 268 562-9227, worldantiguainc@candw.ag

Tourist Board: Government Complex, Queen Elizabeth Highway, St John’s, Antigua; 268 462-0480, fax 268 462-2483, email deptourism@antigua.gov.ag,

website www.antigua-barbuda.org

Ticketing Centre: Long Street & Independence Drive, St. John’s, Antigua; 268 562-5792

 


Barbados

Barbados is one of the most densely populated Caribbean nations, its 272,000 people residing on an island 14 miles wide and 21 miles long. But it enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the region.

For centuries, sugar was Barbados’s principal revenue earner, but tourism has overtaken it in recent years. Other exports include rum, chemicals, electrical components and clothing. Offshore banking and information technology have expanded rapidly, and the country has small offshore reserves of oil and natural gas.

Barbados has a dual heritage. A heavy English influence, evident in its stone-built Anglican churches and Saturday afternoon race meetings, gave rise to the nickname “Little England”, while the island’s African roots are manifested in music and dance, especially during Crop Over and other festivals.

Leisure activities include water sports such as snorkelling and diving, especially along the more protected southern and western coasts, which have outstanding beaches. Golf is a favourite local sport (the island possesses some highly regarded courses), as is cricket. Barbados has spawned two of the greatest players ever to pick up a bat and ball, in Sir Garfield Sobers and Sir Frank Worrell.

The most easterly Caribbean island, Barbados is composed of a predominantly limestone and coral base and is mostly low-lying. Its gently rolling interior features large sugar cane fields and brightly-coloured villages.

The name Barbados was supposedly coined by a 16th-century Portuguese explorer, Pedro Campos, who observed the long hanging roots of the local fig trees and thought they resembled beards. He therefore called the island Los Barbados, The Bearded Ones.

Initially populated by nomadic Amerindian tribes, Barbados was seized by the British in 1627. They controlled the island uninterrupted for nearly three and a half centuries, despite several slave rebellions. Independence was achieved on November 30, 1966, with Errol Barrow serving as the first prime minister. The capital is Bridgetown, and the currency is the Barbadian dollar.
World Cup Venues

(1)

Name: The 3 Ws Oval

Location: Cave Hill Campus, UWI, near Bridgetown

Capacity: 3,000-4,000

Status: Newly built state-of-the-art stadium

Matches: Warm-Up Group D (Sri Lanka, Scotland, New Zealand, Bangladesh)

(2)

Name: Kensington Oval

Location: West of Bridgetown

Capacity: 28,000

Status: Substantially renovated for the World Cup

Matches: Super 8s and final
Contact Information

Local Organising Committee: Suite 3, Building 1, Manor Lodge Complex, Lodge Hill, St Michael; 246 425-0590, email info@cricketworldcup.com

Tourist Board: Harbour Road, Bridgetown, Barbados; 246 427-2623; website www.barbados.org, email BTAINFO@visit barbados.org

Ticketing Centre: Shop 16, Pelican Craft Centre, Bridgetown; 246 228-3865

 


Grenada

Nicknamed the Spice Isle, Grenada is famous for its production of nutmeg (it is the world’s second-largest producer), mace, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

Grenada has risen to its feet again remarkably since major hurricane damage in 2004-5, and sees the World Cup as an opportunity to show the world that it is back in business.

Grenada boasts one of the fastest growing economies in the Caribbean; tourism is of increasing importance. Visitors are attracted by spectacular scenery, picturesque and fertile valleys, rain forest, fast-flowing rivers, hot springs, mountain lakes, and excellent beaches. The southern coast is the most heavily developed for tourism.

Columbus investigated Grenada in 1498, and by 1650 the French, after crushing the Amerindian inhabitants, had colonised the island. They named their new colony Grenade. The island was ceded to Britain by the Treaty of Paris in 1783, and gained full independence in 1974.

The capital St George’s, with its blend of French and English architectural styles set on steep hillsides, is widely regarded as the prettiest harbour city in the West Indies.

The population stands at 103,000; some French patois is spoken as well as English. The currency is the East Caribbean dollar.

Grenada burst into world headlines in 1983 when a four-year “revolutionary” government headed by Maurice Bishop was overthrown and the island was invaded and occupied by US forces, a crucial moment in the subsequent development of US foreign policy.
World Cup Venue

Name: Queen’s Park Stadium – Grenada National Stadium

Location: On the outskirts of St George’s

Capacity: 16,000

Status: New stadium built in partnership with the People’s Republic of China

Matches: Super 8s
Contact Information

Local Organising Committee: PO Box 2282, Upper Level Melville Street, Cruise Terminal, St George’s; 473 435-2007, 437-2007, email info.grenada@cricketworldcup.com

Tourist Board: Box 293, Burn’s Point, St George’s; 473 440-2279, fax 473 440-6637; e-mail gbt@spiceisle.com, website: grenadagrenadines.com

Ticketing Centre: Cable & Wireless Building, Carenage, St George’s, Grenada; 473 435-6899

 


Guyana

Guyana’s outstanding natural beauty is set to receive some overdue attention during the World Cup.

This rugged and spectacular country boasts breathtaking rivers, waterfalls and dense tropical rain forest (covering approximately 80% of the country) teeming with exotic plants, flowers, birds, insects and mammals. The elusive jaguar is just one inhabitant.

Guyana is an Amerindian word meaning “Land of Many Waters”. Its natural wonders include the largest single-drop waterfall in the world, Kaieteur Falls. At 226m high, it is five times the height of Niagara Falls.

The only English-speaking country in South America, Guyana was inhabited by Arawak, Carib, and Warrau Indians when the first Europeans arrived in the late 16th century. It was a Dutch colony from 1621 until 1796, when it was seized by Britain and later renamed British Guiana.

About a third of its population is descended from African slaves imported during the Dutch colonisation, and around half is descended from indentured Indian workers imported by the British after abolition. Guyana gained its independence in 1966 and became a republic in 1970 under the title of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

Despite its natural riches, political and economic difficulties have left it among the region’s poorest nations. Its main exports include bauxite, alumina, sugar (Guyana is the home of Demerara sugar), gold, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum and timber.

Though physically part of South America, culturally Guyana is Caribbean rather than Latin American, and its leanings in food, festivals, music and sport reflect this. The capital is Georgetown, a city noted for its colonial architecture. The population of 768,000 is heavily concentrated on the coastal fringes, leaving the huge hinterland sparsely occupied.

Guyana has produced many literary figures of note, including the poet Martin Carter and novelists Wilson Harris and David Dabydeen. Apart from English, other languages include indigenous tongues (such as Wai-Wai, Arawak and Macushi), Guyanese Creole and Hindustani.

The currency is the Guyanese dollar. Guyana is one of only two countries in the mainland Americas (the other is Suriname) to drive on the left hand side.
World Cup Venue

Name: Providence Stadium

Location: East Bank Demerara, Providence

Capacity: 15,000

Status: New stadium built in partnership with the Government of India

Matches: Super 8s
Contact Information

Local Organising Committee: 91 Middle Street, South Cummingsburg, George-town; 592 225-9626, fax 592 226-0501, email guyana.loc@cricketworldcup.com

Guyana Tourism Authority: National Exhibition Centre, Sophia; 592 223-6351, email visitguyana@networksgy.com, website www.guyana-tourism.com

Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana: 157 Waterloo Street, Cummingsburg, George-town; 592 225-0807, fax 5922 50817, email tag@solutions2000.net

Ticketing Centre: 91 Middle Street, South Cummingsburg, Georgetown; 592 225-9210

 


 

Jamaica

This mountainous and beautiful island is the third largest in the Caribbean, 150 miles long and up to 50 miles wide. It has a population of 2.7 million.

It is best known as the birthplace of reggae and Rastafarianism; the two produced the country’s most famous son, Bob Marley.

Though a small nation, Jamaica is rich culturally and has a strong global presence. Apart from reggae, other musical forms such as ska, dub and, more recently, dancehall and ragga originated in Jamaica. There are vibrant literary, dance and artistic scenes.

As well as creatively-talented people, Jamaica is blessed with a stunning landscape. Half of the island is more than 305m above sea level; Blue Mountain Peak is the highest point, at 2,256m.

First colonised by the Spanish, Jamaica was captured by the British in 1655. As a last act of defiance the Spanish settlers armed and freed their slaves. These became known as the Maroons: they fought a successful guerrilla campaign for nearly 150 years, and remain a distinct ethnic group today.

African slave labour helped make the island one of the world’s leading exporters of sugar. In 1870, when the sugar cane industry went into decline, huge banana plantations were established.

Following the abolition of slavery, indentured labourers were brought in from China and India. This heritage is reflected in the cultural mix of the population today, giving rise to the national motto “Out of Many, One People”.

Jamaica attained independence in 1962. The most important elements of its economy are tourism, mining and agriculture. Principal exports include bauxite, alumina, sugar, bananas and coffee. Blue Mountain coffee is one of the most prized and expensive in the world.

The capital city is Kingston, and the currency is the Jamaican dollar. The official language is English, though a broad Jamaican Creole is widely spoken. Prime minister Portia Simpson-Miller became the nation’s first female leader in March 2006.
World Cup Venues

(1)

Name: Trelawney Multi-Purpose Stadium

Location: Falmouth, Trelawney

Capacity: 15,000

Status: New stadium built in partnership with the People’s Republic of China

Matches: Warm-Up Group WA (West Indies, Kenya, India and The Netherlands) and tournament’s opening ceremony

(2)

Name: Sabina Park

Location: Kingston

Capacity: 20,000

Status: Extensively renovated for the World Cup

Matches: Group D (West Indies, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Ireland) and semi-final

 

Contact Information

Local Organising Committee: 11-15 Oxford Road, Kingston 10; 876 926-1252, fax 968-1215; e-mail info@jamaicacricket2007.com

Tourist Board: 64 Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston 5, 920-4926, 1-800-233-4582, fax 920-4944; email mts@cwjamaica.com, website www.visitjamaica.com

Ticketing Centre: Shops 51 and 52 Kingston Mall, Ocean Boulevard, Downtown Kingston; 876 948-0653

 


St Kitts and Nevis

The northern Leeward islands of St Kitts and Nevis are among the most unspoilt in the Caribbean. Beautiful St Kitts (properly named St Christopher) and Nevis (formerly known as Nuestra Señora de las Nieves) are of volcanic origin. Their large central peaks (Mount Liamuiga reaches 1,156m) are covered by rain forest; numerous rivers descend from the hillsides. Hiking is understandably popular.

This is the smallest independent nation in the Americas, in terms of both size (104 square miles) and population (46,000). Columbus landed in 1493 and named the main island after his patron saint, Christopher. In 1623, the British established their first Caribbean colony on St Kitts, and five years later set up another on Nevis, two miles to the south-east.

Sugar plantations were worked by African slaves, and for 300 years St Kitts and Nevis were the largest sugar monoculture in the Eastern Caribbean. In March 2005, after years of running at a loss, the government closed the industry down.

The islands were once part of a larger union, including neighbouring Anguilla, which was disbanded in 1971 when Anguilla broke away. St Kitts and Nevis attained independence in 1983. St Kitts is the larger of the two islands, and the site of the capital, Basseterre. Secessionist rumblings from Nevis turned into a referendum on the issue in August 1998, but the required two-thirds majority was not achieved.

Tourism has replaced sugar as the main source of income. In March 2003, the largest hotel complex in the eastern Caribbean opened in Frigate Bay, St Kitts.

Culturally, the islands are known for a number of musical celebrations including Carnival (December/January), the St Kitts Music Festival (June), and the week-long Culturama in Nevis (July/August). Notable sons of St Kitts and Nevis include sprinter Kim Collins, born in the capital Basseterre, who became 100m World Champion in 2003.

The currency is the East Caribbean dollar.
World Cup Venue

Name: Warner Park Cricket Stadium

Location: Basseterre

Capacity: 10,000

Status: New stadium built for the World Cup

Matches: Group A games (Australia, South Africa, The Netherlands and Scotland)
Contact Information

Local Organising Committee: CIC Building, Horsford Road, Fortlands, Basseterre, 869 466-2007, fax 869 466-9520, email venue2007@caribsurf.com

St Kitts Tourist Board: Pelican Mall, Basseterre, 869 465-2620, fax 869 465-8794; email mintitcc@stkittstourism.kn, website www.stkitts-tourism.com

Nevis Tourist Board: Old Treasury Building, Main Street, Charlestown, 869 469-7550, fax 869 469-7551, email nta2001@caribsurf.com, website www.nevisisland.com

Ticketing Centre: The Sands Complex, Basseterre; 869 465-3195

 


 

St Lucia

The volcanic island of Saint Lucia is popular both as a family holiday destination and a romantic paradise for honeymooners. It is a mountainous island: its highest peak, Mount Gimie, reaches 950m above sea level. Its two most recognisable landmarks are also mountains, the Pitons, located on the south-western coast.

St Lucia’s spectacular forested interior, with fertile valleys and precipitous peaks, is home to the beautiful but endangered St Lucian parrot. Its beaches are a popular nesting site for the world’s largest sea turtle, the Leatherback.

Snorkelling, diving and other watersports are popular, and the island possesses one of the best marinas in the region, at Rodney Bay.

Other attractions include the boiling sulphur springs at Qualibou volcano, one of the world’s few “drive-in” volcanoes, colonial fortifications and plantation tours.

St Lucia’s history gives it a rich heritage, chiefly African, French and English. It was first colonised by the French in 1635; France and Britain disputed possession for nearly 200 years until the British gained control in 1814.

Nevertheless, French influence is still marked, especially in the widely-spoken French patois and place names. The official language is English, though.

Most St Lucians, over 90 per cent, are the descendants of African slaves brought in to work on sugar plantations. Historically, banana exports have been hugely important, especially after sugar cane production ceased in 1964. They remain the second highest source of income after tourism. St Lucia, named after the Roman Catholic Saint Lucy of Syracuse, gained independence in 1979.

The island has produced two Nobel prize winners in Sir Arthur Lewis (1979, Economics) and Derek Walcott (1992, Literature). Each May since 1992, Saint Lucia has hosted an internationally-renowned Jazz Festival.

The capital is Castries, where about a third of the 152,000 population lives. There are two international airports, and the currency is the East Caribbean dollar.
World Cup Venue

Name: Beausejour Stadium

Location: Gros Islet

Capacity: 20,000

Status: Temporary stands boost capacity from 12,000 to 20,000

Matches: Group C games (New Zealand, England, Kenya and Canada) and semi-final

Contact Information Local Organising Committee: 758 452-2007, email wcsl@candw.lc

Tourist Board: Sure Line Building, north of Vigie roundabout on Castries-Gros Islet highway, Castries, 758 452-4094, 758 453-1121; email kallain@stlucia.org, website www.stlucia.org

Ticketing Centre: Cable and Wireless, Gablewoods Mall, Castries; 758 453-9908


 

St Vincent and the Grenadines

The 32 sister islands and cays of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) are a mecca for the sailing fraternity, and some are a playground for the rich and famous. The nation’s territory consists of the main island of St Vincent and the northern two-thirds of the Grenadines, a chain of islands running southwards to Grenada.

Privately-owned Mustique and Palm Island are among the haunts of the well-to-do, offering yachting, diving, fine beaches and luxury accommodation. But you don’t have to be rich to enjoy the Grenadines, and most visitors end up on a yacht, if only for a day.

In 1498, Christopher Columbus landed on the main island on St Vincent’s Day. During the 17th and 18th centuries, St Vincent (known as Hairouna by its former Carib inhabitants) fluctuated between British and French control. It was finally ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Paris, in 1783.

Some escaped African slaves intermarried with the surviving Caribs and became known as Garifuna or Black Caribs. They fiercely resisted British rule, especially in the late 18th century under Joseph Chatoyer.

Chatoyer’s revolt was crushed, but he became a national hero and a monument stands to him on Dorsetshire Hill, where he died in battle.

Historically reliant on bananas, SVG’s other exports include arrowroot starch, nutmeg, mace and coconuts. The banana crop remains vital, though, accounting for a third of export earnings. Efforts are being made to exploit the islands’ natural assets, its spectacular coastlines and sailing waters, allied to its lush and mountainous interiors, to encourage tourism.

St Vincent’s La Soufrière volcano is still active, and last erupted in April 1979. Its worst eruption in modern times was in 1902, when it killed 2,000 people. It offers a strenuous but popular hike, with spectacular views.

SVG gained independence in October 1979. The capital is Kingstown, in Saint Vincent. The population is 121,000, and the official language is English. The currency is the East Caribbean dollar.

 

World Cup Venue

Name: Arnos Vale Stadium

Location: Kingstown

Capacity: 12,000

Status: Substantially renovated for the World Cup

Matches: Warm-Up Group WB (Australia, England, Bermuda and Zimbabwe)

 

Contact Information

Local Organising Committee: 784 482-0007, email elson.crick@cricketworldcup.com, svginfo@cricketworldup.com

Tourist Board: Ministry of Tourism, Cruise Ship Berth, Kingstown, 784 457-1502; website www.svgtourism.com

Ticketing Centre: Avesco Building, PO Box 385, Arnos Vale; 784 456-6109

 


Trinidad and Tobago

The term melting-pot is over-used, but if any country deserves the title it’s Trinidad and Tobago. The birthplace of Caribbean Carnival, calypso and steel pan, Trinidad and Tobago is the most culturally diverse Caribbean nation, as well as the wealthiest.

As the southernmost island in the Caribbean chain, just seven miles from the coast of Venezuela, it has inherited Latin American as well as West Indian influences. Its rich history means that African slaves, Indian and Chinese indentured labourers, Amerindian tribes, European settlers and Middle-Eastern immigrants have all left their mark.

First occupied by Amerindians moving north from the mainland, Trinidad was visited by Columbus in 1498 and settled by the Spanish before falling to Britain in 1797. A succession of European powers laid claim to Tobago before it too was ceded to Britain in 1814. The two became a single nation in 1898.

Trinidad is the larger and more populous island, with 94 per cent of the total land area and 96 per cent of the 1.3 million population. The two islands became independent in 1962 and a republic in 1976.

Unlike most of the English-speaking Caribbean, Trinidad is an industrialised economy based on large oil and gas reserves. Tobago is more tourist-oriented.

The Amerindian name for Trinidad was supposedly Iere, meaning Land of the Hummingbird, and its rain forests, mountains, plains and mangrove swamps, as well as geographical location, have bequeathed it a unique flora and fauna. The two islands boast over 430 bird species, and birdwatching is a major attraction. Tobago has outstanding beaches, hiking, diving and sailing.

The islands are perhaps best known for their fun-loving culture, especially the world-famous pre-Lenten Carnival, which has been exported across the globe.

Famous Trinidad and Tobago names include world record-holding batsman Brian Lara and Nobel prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul. The nation’s football team, the Soca Warriors, made their World Cup debut in Germany in 2006.

The currency is the Trinidad and Tobago dollar.
World Cup Venues

(1)

Name: University of West Indies (UWI) SPEC Ground

Location: St Augustine Campus, UWI

Capacity: 4,000

Status: Existing facility upgraded for the World Cup

Matches: Warm-Up Group WC (Pakistan, South Africa, Canada and Ireland)

 

(2)

Name: Queen’s Park Oval

Location: Tragarete Road, Port-of-Spain

Capacity: 17,000

Status: Substantially renovated for the World Cup

Matches: Group B games (India, Sri Lanka, Bermuda and Bangladesh)
Contact Information

Local Organising Committee: 5th Floor, Tatil Building, 11 Maraval Road, Port of Spain, Trinidad, 868 628-9382, fax 868 622-5424, email info.trinidadandtobago@cricketworldcup.com

Tourist Board: Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Company, P.O. Box 222, Maritime Centre, 29 Tenth Avenue, Barataria, Trinidad, 868 675-7034, fax 868 675-7722, email info@tdc.co.tt, www.visittnt.com

Ticketing Centres: Jean Pierre Complex, Port of Spain, 868 627-3670; Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, 636-6539; TSTT Tobago, Caroline Building, Scarborough, 639-6326