Politics and West Indies Cricket – Commentary

Politics and West Indies Cricket

The political leadership of the Caribbean lacks the moral right to be critical of the administrators of cricket in the Caribbean. They should stay clear of getting involved in the administration of cricket. They should leave it as a private enterprise.

Politics and cricket are like oil and water. The two have never mixed well and should never be mixed. Politics will summon the death warrant for West Indies cricket, which is already half-dead, not because of the administrators of cricket, but because of the historic lack of support for cricket and the poisonous role of politics in cricket.   

The political leadership of Guyana under the PPP tried to seize control of the Guyana Cricket Board. They victimized and harassed the members of the Guyana Cricket Board. The onslaught was led by the very persons who are now pretending to be political angels, interested in the well-being of Guyanese.

Cricket has become big business around the world. In the Caribbean, the CPL – a private sector venture – is leading the way in making cricket a major economic industry. It is the private sector which has been responsible for this, not cricket. But like the political leadership did in some parts of the Caribbean in the 1970’s, there is an attempt to nationalize this process by feigning an interest in the declining fortunes of West Indian cricket.

The political leadership of the Caribbean has no basis for trying to become involved in the administration of cricket. They have used a myth to justify their sudden concern for the decline in West Indies cricket. That myth is that cricket is a unifying institution in the Caribbean.

Cricket is no unifying force in the West Indies. It has always been wrecked by political insularity. Cricket demonstrates our divisiveness, just as how the collapse of the West Indian Federation reflected the break-up and mirrored the small-mindedness of the political leadership of that time. It was shallow and narrow self-interests, mutual suspicion of each other, and personal political ambitions and rivalry, which broke up the West Indian Federation.

West Indies cricket may be in a bad state, but it will get worse if it is ever touched by the political leadership of the Caribbean. West Indies were once the champions of world cricket, not because of government involvement in cricket, but because of the lack of it. It became the champions of world cricket through the efforts of the administrators of cricket in the West Indies.

The political leadership of the Caribbean has done nothing for cricket in the West Indies. What have they ever done for cricket in the West Indies? Whatever has been achieved in West Indies cricket has been achieved through private initiative.

The political leadership of the West Indies should take their hands off cricket. They can hardly agree among themselves on economic and political issues, much less to take on the role of managing a highly fractured administration of cricket.

The political leadership of the Caribbean is part of the problem with West Indian cricket. The decline in West Indian cricket coincides with the disintegration of economies and the levels of despair among young people. Young people want to get out of the region, not to stay and play cricket. They are seeking a visa to greener pastures, not economic liberation through high-paying cricket contracts.

The Caribbean remains in the global economic backwaters. The leaders of the Caribbean are taking no blame for this state of affairs. They, instead, are blaming colonialism and imperialism, fifty years after independence.

The colonists pillaged the Caribbean of its wealth; the post-colonial leaders have squandered its newly-created wealth. The Caribbean today is an international “basket case.”

The controversy-riddled political elite of the Caribbean should stay clear of West Indies cricket, lest they mess it up in the same way as they have screwed up the societies of the Caribbean

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