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Where there’s a will


For St Vincent and the Grenadines, today is D-Day where the Posting of the International Cricket Conference’s (ICC) month World Cup competition is concerned. It is the day on which the ICC’s Venue Tour team makes its final inspection of the readiness of SVG to host warm up matches for next year’s World Cup. At the end of the inspection a decision will be made as to whether our country has passed the test of preparedness.

Given the bold words of the Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean World Cup Organisation team, Chris Dehring, that failure is not an option,” all stops would have to be pulled out by the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) to ensure that after all the efforts, SVG gets the green light. To even contemplate otherwise would almost be to court national disaster, for at a time when money is tight our government committed itself to a $30 million expenditure (PM Gonsalves recently said that it could be more like $40 million) to give us the privilege of “warming-up” the competition. Failure can therefore not be an option for Government.{{more}}

For the LOC, with national cricket hero Mike Findlay at the helm and the hard working construction team with Ms Deidre Myers in the forefront, “thumbs-up” is all they wish to hear. And for the people of SVG, our many reservations aside, “all systems-go” will be the long-awaited words. In spite of the numerous problems, or “challenges” as we must regard them in a more positive light, the mood is optimistic.

We do not have to await the ICC’s judgement or the outcome of World Cup 2007 to learn lessons from this bold venture in Caribbean co-operation. Indeed should, as we all expect, our state of operations regionally get the nod and should, as we dream against all odds, Brian Lara become the second West Indies captain to lift the trophy, the lessons are likely to be lost in regional euphoria. So what can be our early reflections? First, thinking positively, it must be the demonstrated ability of the Caribbean, as a region, to marshal its forces and undertake a venture of this magnanimity. That, for me, more than anything else, is what we should take from World Cup 2007. (I am here leaving all the many shortcomings aside). The fact is that we have not only got agreement across the Board (for verbal agreement has been easier than implementation), but we have actually seen practical manifestation of it. Let no one from here on doubt our capacity for regional action. Our farmers for instance will relish such resolve on agriculture.

Secondly, at a time when, save for petro-dollar over-laden Trinidad and Tobago, money is scarce in the region, our governments have found the will and the wherewithal to place hundreds of millions of dollars where they put their mouths, into World Cup 2007. Money has been milked from government coffers, borrowed or guaranteed, funds and practical assistance have been selected from as far a field as India and China to make sure that we are ready, come March 2007. Let’s insist that broad world-wide vision is brought to bear as we seek investment, technical assistance and more educational opportunities.

Then there is the enactment of the controversial “Sunset Legislation.” Come what may, all host governments have gone ahead to make sure that it’s on the books. (Never mind we couldn’t find the same single-mindedness on the Regional Court of Justice!) There are major concerns in this regard, and even Parliament here has expressed nervousness about the far-reaching implications of some of its provisions, but that is not the focus here. Save to insist on a public education programme on it. What is instructional is that regional governments could move together to implement such potentially contentious legislation and our people, as a whole, have not challenged them.

In the same vein, look at how they can agree on common immigration procedures to facilitate World Cup visitors. One event and we can place all our “national” reservations aside. Similarly we can lean on the airlines to make sure that neither our visitors nor their luggage will be left behind. True, we haven’t been able to do it for ourselves, but let’s use it as a start.

You see, I don’t want us to begin with the negatives. World Cup 2007 demonstrates that we CAN begin to tackle crucial regional issues if we have the will. There are, and will be major weaknesses and shortcomings but what we must draw out, and INSIST ON , post World-Cup, is the same or even greater level of single mindedness, regional unity and committedness to tackling our problems. The example is: WHERE THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A WAY”.