A few weeks back, from September 14-20 to be exact, myself, Lyn Balram in her capacity as Cricket Canada Wickets official photographer, Share Newspaper’s Ron Fanfair and Cricket 360’s Trinidad based Nadine Gangapersad spent a Jamaica Tourism hosted week in Kingston. The primary purpose of our visit was to attend some of the Jamaica Tallawah’s Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Home matches so as to be able to subsequently relay directly to our respective audiences our experienced enjoyment of the sights, sounds and excitement that constitute the CPL’s self created and acclaimed billing as “the biggest party in sports!”
Jamaica Tourism’s objective in hosting the visit was of course that our subsequent reporting of the experienced enjoyment would serve to convince significant numbers from within our respective media audiences to want to experience all that we had themselves. The end result of which would of course be members of our audiences engaging in their own visits to Jamaica as soon as next year for the Tallawah’s 2020 CPL Home Matches, if not before.
Unfortunately, the Tallawah’s actual one win two losses results from the three matches we attended, were sufficient to transform their Sabina Park home venue to much less of a joyous exuberant party atmosphere than had been anticipated. Nonetheless we thoroughly enjoyed the experience, especially Lyn who spent most of her time in the actual stands mingling with the fans while the rest of us, myself, Ron and Nadine mostly confined ourselves to the Media Center.
For the entire duration of our stay we were hosted by Finn & Associates Lyndon Johnson and driven to our itinerary scheduled appointments by the ever-competent Ziggy. The itinerary that Lyndon had developed for us was a balanced mix of cricket related engagements and tourism oriented tours. Among the latter were extremely enjoyable visits to the Bob Marley and Peter Tosh museums, the Trenchtown Culture Yard and of course samplings of Devon House’s now world famous ice cream and multi variety patties.
The Bob Marley Museum and Trenchtown Culture Yard visits in particular left us all with a new found appreciation and greater understanding of just how great a musical genius the legendary reggae icon was. Both the Museum and Trenchtown should now be regarded as Must Dos for any and everyone visiting Kingston for the very first time, as Lyn was.
In addition to the Tallawah’s match attendances, the other cricket related aspects of the Tour included a visit to Chris Gayle’s former Secondary School, Excelsior High, where we met and had discussions with some of the school’s Championship winning Coaches and up and coming youth players. There were also interviews at Sabina Park with the key administrative managers of Jamaica’s Kiddy Cricket Program, Cricket West Indies Territorial Officer Phillip Service and Joylene Griffiths-Irving of Scotiabank, the Program’s corporate sponsor.
We also visited two of Jamaica’s oldest and most famous clubs the Melbourne and Kingston Cricket Club. Our extensive discussions with their respective Board Members, Melbourne’s former Jamaica captain Mark Neita and Kingston’s West Indies Player’s Association Chairman and the recently removed Cricket West Indies President Dave Cameron, were for Ron Fanfair and myself, very high among the most enjoyable aspects of the Tour.
No such City visit could of course ever be considered complete without opportunities to sample the cuisine on offer. We certainly had an enjoyable time doing so. Dinner and drinks at Christopher Gayle’s Triple Hundred Restaurant served as the opening bookend to a variety of experiences, which for Lyn and I included a sampling of the Pegasus’ hotel’s sumptuous breakfast buffet. The tour’s closing dining bookend was a delicious lunch hosted by the AC Marriott which allowed each of us to enjoy fully sample our respective choices from the hotel’s overly impressive menu.
The final agenda items for the week were site visits to our host hotel, the Courtleigh Suites, its sister properties the next door neighbor Pegasus and the around the corner Knutsford Suites, as well as those to two of Kingston’s most recent and exciting developments: the R Hotel and the AC Marriott. Our exposure to the room offerings and amenities of each of the properties, left us all with the inescapably highly complimentary impression that Kingston is now well equipped to host every type of visitor. From high-level corporate types to budget conscious individuals and families.
The availability of the extended trans city highway connecting Kingston to some of Jamaica’s more tourist oriented cities: MoBay, Ocho Rios and Negril in particular now also provides visitors with more convenient opportunities to experience both. Visitors can now spend a few days in Kingston, before hopping on the highway to reach one of Jamaica’s countless an all-inclusive resorts a relatively short and enjoyably scenic drive later.
Our week in Kingston was in the end sufficiently enjoyable. My heartfelt thanks and sincerest gratitude therefore to Jamaica Tourism’s Regional Director Angella Bennett, as well as her Marshall Fenn Agency Partner Account Director Elaine Zlotkowski, our accommodation hosts the Courtleigh Suite’s Hotel, Tour Guide Lyndon Johnson and Driver Ziggy for all that they did, individually and collectively, to make the visit as enjoyable as it was.