After more than a decade spent planning, building and preparing for the International Cricket Council's Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007 tournament, the two-month-long event kicked off in traditional Caribbean style at the new Trelawny Stadium near Montego Bay, Jamaica, on March 11.

A capacity crowd of 12,000 at the venue and an estimated television viewing audience of millions worldwide witnessed the opening ceremony called "West Indian Energy from Plantation to Pop."

With 16 international cricket teams, heads of state, event officials, sponsors, media and fans in attendance, the opening ceremony was the largest international sporting event ever hosted in Jamaica.

Chris Dehring, managing director and CEO of ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007, said the three-hour showcase of regional culture and entertainment "represented the very best of the Caribbean and one which befitted the Cricket World Cup."

Performers included the Jamaica Military Band, Ireland's The Duffy Brothers, Jamaica's Sean Paul, Alison Hinds from Barbados, Machel Montano of Trinidad & Tobago, Kevin Lyttle from St. Vincent & The Grenadines and South African reggae artist Lucky Dube.

Stilt walkers playing cricket, fire eaters and Caribbean dancers added to the pomp and pageantry of the ceremony.

Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica's prime minister, welcomed visitors and cricket competitors to the region while Basil Smith, Jamaica's tourism director, praised the local organizing committee for the event.

"Jamaica is pleased to have provided the platform for the region to showcase its ability to host a major sporting event," Smith said. "We hope this will serve as a launch pad for hosting other international events."

A total of 51 matches will be played by on eight islands over the next seven weeks. The semi-finals are set for April 24 in Jamaica and April 25 in St. Lucia with the final taking place on April 28 in Barbados.

For schedules and details, visit

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].


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