As the commencement of the Cricket World Cup 2006 draws ever nearer we are finding a number of straws blowing in the wind that causes grave concern among Caribbean people.
The problem in the region is of course that once we subject those in authority to criticism, however constructive, there is a very strong tendency for them to take it as a personal affront and to target in response the messenger rather than the message.
It is nonetheless very important that we come to the realization that the CWC2007 is being held in the Caribbean and hence we are all stakeholders.
This columnist wishes to address some of the problem areas that are currently surfacing.
The long serving Honorary Consul for Trinidad and Tobago in Australia since 1981, former athlete, Mike Agostini, recently resigned from his post over the matter of the special visas that Caricom has agreed to put in place for visitors coming to the region during the period of the CWC2007.
According to reliable sources Agostini insisted that all is not well with the arrangements for the visas in shambles. He noted that the matter of the visas which would guarantee visitors to the region hassle-free transfer between countries hosting matches was rushed in no more than months and even then not properly investigated and carefully considered or else reconsidered. Especially when the Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, wrote to all governments involved asking them not to do what they did.
According to Agostini, the handling of the visas was undertaken in a sloppy and still seemingly haphazard manner…in which the implementation of the arduous and lengthy processes of actually issuing these visas occurred, or more so still have failed to get started yet.
The good news is that Agostini suggested that there are about 7000 Australians and 3000 New Zealanders who are keen on coming to the region for the CWC2007 experience. The bad news is that the visa problems are causing such an immense headache at this late stage in the preparatory exercise that it may impact negatively on those willing to come here.