The inaugural Caribbean Games is about regional unity. It is about taking the process of regional integration one more step forward.
Caribbean Games 2009 is but another of the many sporting initiatives which we as a people believe to be among the best and most efficacious ways of realising regional unity.
In 1989 when Trinidad and Tobago was about to face the USA for a place in the Finals of the 1990 FIFA World Cup, the entire Caribbean came together. Everywhere our people wore something that bore one of the colours of the Trinidad and Tobago national flag. Most people wore something red. Young women painted their fingernails in the country’s national colours. There was a tremendous outpouring of oneness that this region had not seen for decades.
When Jamaica eventually earned a place in the FIFA World Cup Finals, we saw a repetition of the same outpouring of Caribbean soli
darity. It was the region that had earned the right to the Finals. Jamaica was merely our representative.
Once more, in 2006, when Trinidad and Tobago made it to the FIFA World Cup Finals, we all felt that we were integral to the team’s sojourn. Every match they played caught the Caribbean people at home and in the Diaspora fully engrossed urging the players on, yearning for success.
West Indies Cricket once did this for the peoples of the region. This is no longer the case. Instead, we have the successes of the Jamaican athletes as well as those from Trinidad and Tobago and Martina from the Netherlands Antilles at the Beijing Olympics, to bring us together.
We live in hope that football will afford us all yet another opportunity to unite as one when one of our teams graces the World Cup stage. So too, we live in hope that the inaugural Caribbean Games would usher in another critical era in our quest for oneness as a Caribbean people.
The spirit of the Caribbean Games is regionalism and every one of us is expected to be on board.