HomeIsland InsiderIsland Insider | Daren Sammy, Coach of the West Indies Cricket Team

Island Insider | Daren Sammy, Coach of the West Indies Cricket Team

by URBAN JOURNEY

Located in the eastern Caribbean, this stunning island has jungle-covered mountains, pristine white sand beaches, and a slew of luxurious resorts overlooking turquoise waters. Its blend of African, French, and British influences is reflected in its Creole cuisine, music, and festivals.

Six of the ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup matches will take place in Saint Lucia, which is ideal for those who want to combine riveting cricket matches with a Caribbean island getaway. The matches will take place at The Darren Sammy Cricket Ground near Gros Islet.

The island is home to inviting restaurants and bars, interesting sites, and areas of incredible natural beauty that are just waiting to be explored. So whether you’re in Saint Lucia for the Cricket World Cup or just planning a getaway, we’re here to help you uncover all the musts!

(For even more insight into Saint Lucia, check out our Ultimate Destination Guide for the Cricket World Cup 2024)

Daren Sammy, Coach of the West Indies Cricket Team, speaks to Anjali Datwani, Founder of Urban Journey

“Did you know, Saint Lucia is the only island named after a woman?” Daren Sammy remarked as he was talking about the beauty of his home. I had the pleasure of speaking to Daren Sammy on a Zoom call while he was in Kingson, Jamaica for the 3T201s between West Indies and South Africa. We had a great conversation about what he’s most excited about during the Cricket World Cup, everything he loves about his island, the Daren Sammy foundation, his life motto which we share, “Great things don’t come from comfort zones,” and so much more!

With Saint Lucia being a host venue for the Cricket World Cup, how do you think this event will impact the island’s atmosphere?

I am looking to win! That’s the most important thing. However, as someone who’s represented the region and having an event of this magnitude on our shores, in my home of Saint Lucia, in the stadium that is named after me, it is so important not only from a cricketing standpoint but also our West Indian community. We rely heavily on tourism. So after winning, I can’t wait to see the visitors on our shores. That would be the next most important thing, to let the Caribbean region showcase how beautiful the Caribbean is, especially Saint Lucia. If you come to Saint Lucia and you’ve not been inspired, you came to a vacation with your eyes closed. Because once you open your eyes, you will be!


What is your favorite thing living about in Saint Lucia? What do you love most about living there?

There is a sense of calmness, a mood. That’s what it is. Living in Saint Lucia is a mood. It’s tranquility. It’s just being one with nature. And most of all, it’s just the people. Like I tell everyone, as beautiful as the island is, without the people who provide the service to our visitors or just to someone who is living there, the people make it what it is. There’s community love and a brotherhood. And for me, as a native there, I get to live in a place where people want to vacation! So sometimes I put on my tourist hat and I take my family and kids down to Soufriere, the Sulphur Springs, and I get to appreciate this place I love to call home. And it’s just simply beautiful.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic vacation, adventure, or nature, or you just want to put your feet up and relax, Saint Lucia provides ALL of that.

What are some hidden gems of Saint Lucia?

Pitons Saint Lucia

Pitons – Travel Saint Lucia

Well, everyone in Saint Lucia knows the Pitons and the Pigeon Point area. But I could tell you some of the hidden treasures are the river camps, where you can discover the amazing section of the river where it’s just so refreshing. You can go zip-lining and stuff like that, but for me, I have done one of these tours where we go river hunting. We go rafting on a river in Rosseau and scope out all of these beautiful hidden places that are out there. I also just love walking through the forest and discovering all the gems the island has to offer.

Where can visitors catch the best sunsets and sunrises in Saint Lucia?

I had the opportunity to watch the sunset at Sugar Beach Viceroy in Soufriere and Windjammer Landing Resort. But at any time you could see the sun setting in the ocean anywhere, and it’s a beautiful view. When you’re in the north, you go up to Pigeon Point. Just put up a chair and, have a glass of wine, and you just lose yourself in watching it go down

windjammer saint lucia sunset

Image source: Windjammer Saint Lucia

For sunrises…

Anywhere on the East Coast. We have a new golf course, Cabot, in Point Hardy which has gorgeous views of the sunrise. Saint Lucia is quite mountainous as well, so in any elevated place, you get to see the sunrise and the sunrise sets the tone for the day.

What are your favorite restaurants in Saint Lucia and what are your local favorite dishes?

If you want if you want a food experience, go to Gros Islet on a Friday night. You get everything. You get the music, you get the food, you get the culture. This is one of our popular events, a street party, and it’s been going on for over 50 years consistently. You can eat dishes freshly caught from the ocean that are seasoned and grilled to perfection, whether it be your chicken, fish, shrimp, lobster, or everything.

Local dishes…

I love green figs and saltfish. That’s our national dish, you know? Saint Lucians also do a mean fish water.
My mom knows even now when I’m traveling and I’m going back home, she will have my dumpling and chicken ready for me. So that’s my personal favorite. We are good cooks in Saint Lucia and you can come and get that food experience.

I love coming to Jamaica too because they also create that food experience, and Saint Lucia is no different from that. We also love our local hot bakes and cocoa tea in the morning for breakfast. You can also do salt fish, or cucumber salad with your hot bakes and cinnamon tea. It’s perfection.

What are your favorite festivals throughout the year?

We recently had our Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival over the weekend on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Leading up to the opening of the festival was also fun.

We had Caribbean fusion night which was the first night. Then, World Beats where you have a mixture of Afro beats and Chloe Bailey also performed. Then Sunday, the ultimate experience was when Babyface performed. Babyface taught me how to talk to a lady!

There’s also Carnival which is amazing and happening in July this year. This year is a good year to be in the Caribbean, especially in Saint Lucia. In May, we had the Jazz, now we have the Cricket World Cup, and right after we go straight into Carnival. The island just keeps giving!

The Cricket World Cup is not something we get every year and the fact that it’s in the Caribbean is amazing!

In October, we have the Creole festival which is where you see the culture of the island being on display. Our heritage, our background, where it comes from. It’s also a great festival.

Can you tell us about the Daren Sammy Foundation?

Cricket has given me so much. As a kid growing up in an era where West Indies dominated and having a dream to become the first Saint Lucian to do it and to do it, there’s been an understanding of the journey and some of the rules people in positions had to play especially from the financial side of it, to to get me to where I am today. For me, it was about giving back to my community and my people.

I founded the Daren Sammy Foundation, which helps underprivileged kids, or rather disadvantaged kids, through sports and education. I believe the quickest way to solve or uplift the country is through education. And because I come from a sports background, you know, I challenge them to be active in or take part in some extracurricular activities at school. And that has been going on strong for the last eight years. It was founded in 2016 after winning the World Cup. So maybe 2024 is a good year again.

I’ve always wanted to raise awareness for different social issues when it comes to race women and violence. My mom has always raised me to stand up for something or else I’ll fall for anything. So I try to use my leverage my influence to spread love.

When I was 23, someone said to me, “Young man, to whom much is given, much is expected.” And that has always stayed with me. Being a leader in my field, I understand the responsibilities that come with that. It’s up to us, those who’ve paved the way to or have made it to pave the way for others and be better human beings in the community.

When I was Because I was in my early 20s years old when I fought this coach of this Saint Lucia franchise team was just picking on me all the time. I said to myself, young man. To whom much is given, much is expected. And those who will stay stayed in my in my head. I saw him four days ago as I was in Antigua a, at a meet and greet function, and he keeps tricking me about that. He’s saying how proud he is, but I just it kept. Being in my mind, you know, and, you know, being a leader in my field. You know, I do understand, the responsibilities that come with that. So, you know, it’s up to us, those who’ve paved the way or have made it to pave the way, for others.

What’s your life motto?

A mentor of mine gave me a book called The Winning Attitude in 1996 or 1997. I saw a quote in it that said, “what the mind can conceive and the heart can believe, the body can achieve.” So from that day, when it comes to working, it has always been to imagine, believe, and achieve. And that “great things don’t come from comfort zones.”

For even more insight into Saint Lucia, check out our Ultimate Destination Guide for the Cricket World Cup 2024

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