What is the reality?
Are we as united as we seem to make people from outside the region believe that we are?
From our vantage point we are a ragged disunited bunch characterised by intense selfishness. Much of the talk of unity through sports is really a wish, an aspiration of the few rather than the interest and commitment of the many.
The West Indies cricket team has been in existence since the early part of the 20th century. At a time when the region’s many territories were indistinguishable by their British colonial status it was easy for many to identify the West Indies cricket team as the receptacle of the aspirations of the peoples of the Caribbean to prove to the world that we are as capable as the colonisers or anyone else for that matter in the field of sport.
In the game of cricket we were regularly pitted directly against the colonisers and therefore had good reason to strive for success against them and to be proud to do so as one people.
It did not seem to matter to the masses that the Jamaican people had officially rejected the regional integration option in the referendum in which Norman Manley lost to Alexander Bustamante regarding Jamaica’s full membership of and commitment to the West Indian Federation. The fact that we could play on the same field and have some of our batsmen and bowlers outperform our colonial opponents on the cricket field was an outstanding achievement in and of itself and many seemed satisfied with that despite the obvious contradiction.
Whatever about our people shouting vociferously for the West Indies cricket team at every opportunity we continue now as we did then to viciously attack those whom we consider responsible for the selection process. People from one country to another chastise the omission of persons from their respective countries who have been overlooked by the selectors. At times there is much acrimony that transcends any genuine commitment to regionalism.