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Political bacchanal and hangers-on

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I was pleased to note that the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies is now offering a Master of Science in Cricket Studies.

It aims to develop professional support for leadership for cricket culture and to improve understanding of issues related to the management and leadership of West Indian cricket. It is expected to benefit individuals holding administrative positions in cricket institutions and organisers of West Indies cricket at both local and regional levels.{{more}}

We have in recent times been very critical of the standard of West Indian cricket and have been bemoaning the poor quality that we have been dishing out. We compare it unfavourably with past glory and wonder what is happening with West Indies cricket. We have however, not really been as critical of the management of West Indian cricket as we should be. Continuing disputes with the Players Association have always cast a shadow of doubt about the management, it is true, but it was still able to escape the kinds of critical reviews that the situation demanded. Perhaps it is because it operated so much in the shadows.

Two recent matters, the fiasco with Stanford’s 20-20 dream game involving the West Indies and South Africa, Michael Holding’s recent resignation from the WICB Cricket Committee and his statement that he cannot become involved again once Ken Gordon is president, have added to this. Then, Simon Crosskill who had interviewed Holding made an even more damaging statement about West Indies cricket. He said that so many things had been swept under the carpet that it was starting to stink regardless of who was leading it.

There are and have for sometime been serious problems with the management of West Indies cricket. Part of the problem that relates to the poor performance of West Indies cricket has to be laid at the door of management. It has, moreover, failed to lift West Indies cricket into the 21st century despite sporadic efforts in recent times. It is within this context that I welcome the initiative by Cave Hill, spearheaded undoubtedly by its principal Hilary Beckles. We have to begin to take a scientific approach to the handling of West Indies cricket and this programme hopefully will go a long way in this direction. Cricket today, more than at any other time is very much a mind game and those who run the game have to be put in a position where they can begin to develop the appropriate infrastructure to facilitate this.

SVG’s Disaster Profile

I have recently read the IMF 2005 Article IV Consultation Report. There were a number of issues and statements that call for serious debate. What however caught my attention most was a statement which made me wonder if I was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It read “Ten major disasters have hit the country since 1970, making it the world’s most disaster-affected nation”. I tried to think of disasters over the past 30 years and with the exception of the eruption of the volcano in 1979 and that freak activity of nature that enraged the waves and did severe damage to the cruise ship berth and to areas on the leeward coast, I had difficult fitting anything else into the category of major. If by chance we can stretch our imagination to find 10 major disasters during that period, how do we arrive at declaring SVG “the world’s most disaster-affected nation”? It is obvious that a mistake was made somewhere, but then we are a strange people. Some weeks ago public servants and other workers were sent home at about 3:00 p.m. because of a tropical wave that was in any event already passing over the country. Earlier this week the weather forecast predicted a tropical wave and I waited for the announcement but we were apparently experiencing some sane moments.

The land debate

It appears that SVG is not the only place where there is currently a land debate taking place. A debate is raging in Barbados over the fear that land prices are moving beyond the range of most citizens. That country does not have an Alien Landholding Act and there is a call from some sections of the population for such an act to be put in place. Prime Minister Arthur does not see the need for such legislation, particularly at this time. This has always been a sensitive issue for Barbadian politicians given their dependence on tourism investment. Arthur states that most of the vacant land in Barbados is owned by non-resident Barbadians. This was revealed by a committee that had been set up some years ago to examine the issue of land ownership.

The nation newspaper in one of its recent issues made an interesting comment about the introduction of alien land holding legislation. It stated, “The basic idea is attractive insofar as it implies that restriction on foreign ownership would be an advantage to locals. In practice, however, the licensing arrangement that goes with such legislation puts a political appointee – in the form of a minister – at the centre of transactions and this has led to suspicion in many places”. The nation suggested that citizens in Barbados might best consider taking advantage of opportunities for investing outside under the CSME arrangements in addition, of course to exploring local opportunities. Another point in that article caught my attention. Land, it argues, “is a sensitive issue around which wars continue to be fought throughout the world. We believe that part of the concerns of Barbadians could immediately be met by the enforcement of a more effective land use policy for the benefit of this and future generations”.

More Bacchanal

Trinidad is well known for its bacchanal. Two matters are now at the centre stage of that bacchanal. These have to do with the Chief Justice and the madness within the United National Congress. The matter of the Chief Justice is now before the Privy Council. He was alleged to have tried to influence the Chief Magistrate to rule in favour of Basdeo Panday in a case brought before him. Attempts to arrest the CJ for attempting to pervert the course of justice were stalled by an injunction that restrained the police from carrying out the warrant.

Then there is Basdeo Panday and his usual games. Some months ago he claimed to have retired from active politics but he is not the man to stay in the background and has since then been involved in a bitter feud with

his anointed successor Winston Dookeran. Now he is staging a come back and is supposed to be part of a leadership council that is to take charge of the party. What Panday will succeed in doing is to take the party down with him. He has his court case hanging before him and will be extremely lucky if he beats it. Behind him is a group of hangers-on like Jack Warner pumping him for all that it is worth. The bacchanal is likely to continue for sometime longer within the UNC possibly committing suicide, unless T&T’s racial politics aborts it.

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