The PM should lead by example

One would have thought that the euphoria that gripped the peoples of the Caribbean when Jamaica became the first English-speaking Caribbean team to qualify for the Football World Cup Finals would have impacted our politicians in respect of the crucial role that another sport besides cricket could do for the regional integration process.
One would also have thought that the region’s togetherness on the occasion of Trinidad and Tobago’s ascendancy to the Football World Cup Finals in 2006 would have served as a gentle reminder to the Caribbean political leaders of what happened earlier.
One would also have thought that the impact of the successes of Boldon, Thompson and the 4 x 100m relay team of Trinidad and Tobago, Kim Collins of St Kitts/Nevis and the host of Jamaicans, now led by the amazing Usain Bolt, would have stirred something in the hearts of the region’s political leaders.
As amazingly as Bolt’s triple world record gold medals in Beijing earlier this year the Caribbean Heads of Government have all missed the point. Small wonder then that they do not seem capable of forging regional integration except in their profligate speeches on the political platforms, more so at elections time than on any other occasion.
Our Caribbean leaders, sad to say, remain convinced, like some of the older heads among us, that cricket still espouses the aspirations of the peoples of the region. That has long since ceased to be the case. Indeed, some may suggest that it was not even the case when the region’s cricketers went off to play for Kerry Packer. Witness the difficulty that the peoples of the region had in convincing some of our cricketers to reject the ‘blood money’ offered by the cricket fraternity in apartheid South Africa at a time when sporting ties with that rogue nation at the time were banned. Yet we continue to be fed the rubbish that the game of cricket somehow still holds for our cricketers the significance it once held for those who went before them.
There is little doubt that successive generations of cricketers have lost any real understanding of and appreciation for the ideas that CLR James captured. This is not to say that one does not appreciate the attempts by Hilary Beckles to establish cricket as a discipline at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus. Historians of all people understand only too well the difficulty of recapturing the past. Unfortunately no one seems to have gotten this message across to the political leaders of the Caribbean.