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The Enemy Within - An Island Thing?


The conspiracy theories are flying in by the baleful and at the time of writing an official statement regarding  the immediate fate of the second Test match is yet to be delivered.
The more important post-mortem regarding the circumstances of today's events shall however not be as quickly forthcoming, yet I believe that we have finally arrived to the tipping point regarding the administration of West Indian cricket.
The bullocks began in the late 1980s following the smooth, if hard-line, administrations of Jeffrey Stollmeyer (TT) and Allan Rae (Jam) (to my memory). In the 20 years that have passed since their retirements, the West Indian public has been subjected to a series of inconsistent and often incoherent administrative actions by successive Boards and Chairmen that would shock most of my managerial peers. But there's the rub. Would it shock managers in Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica or Guyana?
Hellish Example#1:
Peter Short (Barbados) physically chasing after Brian Lara in a hotel hallway after an impetuous resignation by the latter during the 1995 tour of England - to be followed by a settlement and resumption of duties - and then a fine imposition to Lara on the return home  - leading to Lara excusing himself from a subsequent ODI Oz tour.
Hellish Example#2:
The sponsorship fudge-up between stalwart Cable and Wireless and Digicel circa 2005.  The former being gracelessly bum-rushed off the stage after over twenty years of sound patronage in favour of the hot, if unspecified, arrangements of the latter - leading to years of legal recriminations with the players, C&W and interestingly with Digicel themselves following the hasty Standford arrangements of last year.
I'm leaving out the mini-scandals of a US$20,000.00/mth salary for CEO for a moment Brathwaite (Barbados), the insistence of first class flights to all regional Windies Test Matches by the entire board and most recently the apparent construction (and subsequent billing) of a house by CEO for a moment Hunte. All matters were first violently denied and then quietly confirmed - with technicalities saving the perpetrators from possible legal action cf.
And yes, I'm leaving out Sabina 1998 only because, like Holding, I believe that the match should have gone ahead because, as was noted, there have been matches, particularly in Australia, played in worse conditions in years past.
I'm no defender of the player's association (WIPA) who themselves have lent to the culture of incoherence and (as seen above) abject greed that have both heavily contributed to the distracted rejuvenation of the game in the territories.
Back to the beef though which is the apparent indifference in most other islands where the foolishness is perpetrated.
Trinidad, the most media critical of all the territories regarding both the recent spate of board and player excesses, has made three major administrative contributions over the last decade and their stories make interesting reading.  Ken Gordon CEO 2005 to 2007, implemented urgent and effective cost rationalization methods to ensure that the massive debt accrued by the Board upon his entry was removed and a healthy surplus - aided by aggressive WC2007 negotiations - was left in place.  Today we hear that we're sailing into the red again - how is this even remotely possible?
Colin Borde, TT administrator extraordinaire and a key architect, along with Omar Khan (current Windies Team Manager), for creating the present regional dynasty of the local team, entered the fray in 2007 and promptly resigned over matters of financial and regional tournament administration - he is unable to legally speak further.
Tony Deyal, another Trinidadian, was also recently dismissed as PR Manager over his apparent leaking of another minuted cover-up of financial b.s. This matter is now before the courts.
Trinidad, long sidelined from major regional admin and Test considerations palpably due to its long-term regional economic dominance, has long been acknowledged as the provider of the region's most cost effective and successful managers (this writer has served in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad as has received the feedback first-hand and read of the perception in regional news articles.)
Despite the conspicuous relative wealth of its national environs, in matters of business, Trinidadians are largely known to eschew perks often hounded by regional colleagues (e.g. again, the first-class-travel-only-thing, company BMW-Mercedes-Audi  issued vehicles, complimentary everything, and then the bonuses). Indeed the recent fall from grace of a local high-flying financial conglomerate has been met with plethora of told-you-so's rather than sympathy.
The need to give various island nation's their moment in the sun by ascribing a Test date is a necessary part of the democratic structure of the Board. However, are there not inspections performed by responsible professionals who are required to call a spade a spade and save the Board a venue embarrassment and possible legal action from visiting tour-groups and media houses?  
Is it that my own culture has equipped me, and many other Trinis (see Fazeer Mohammed and Trini-born Tony Cozier for more opinions) to predict this latest episode of incompetence emanating from a group culturally unfamiliar to the required level of impartial integrity and modern time and cost management?  This has been explicitly articulated by several over the years but shall now perhaps be less politely voiced in tomorrow's predicted headlines Caribbean-wide.

(P: S: The game has since been shifted to the old Antigua Recreational Ground, and scheduled for Sunday)

(Click here to know more about Jonathan)

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