‘Rally, rally round the West Indies now and forever.’ Those are the first words of the chorus of the official West Indies cricket anthem written and performed by Trinidadian calypso singer David Rudder. Supporting and rallying round our team seem the noble and patriotic things to do, after all it is our team, and the only international cricket team we will ever have. However, context and perspective are everything. Coming from a lofty position of marauding dominance, the regional team is now ranked 10th out of 12 in Test Cricket, ninth out of 12 in one-day internationals, and as their rankings suggest, they are the woeful, shameless, and routine “beating sticks” for almost all of the rest of the world in the traditional formats of the game. total turn-off My personal challenge is in reconciling my support of an institution I grew loving, respecting, and revering, and continuously getting nothing in return. The West Indies players of today have either lost track or are totally ignorant of the social and political responsibility attached to representing the Caribbean region and the Caribbean people on the cricket grounds of the world. Having gone the full gambit of emotions from love, reverence, respect, disappointment, anger, and now total turn-off and disdain, the current West Indies cricket team is not very ‘supporter friendly’. When the conscience and heart are gone from the players, they inevitably go from the team. I find it impossible to give unconditional support to such a team. When things get to the point where the West Indies in their lone warm-up game before the start of the first Test match on their current tour of Australia were thrashed by 10 wickets early on the fourth morning of their four-day game by an Australian board eleven made up mostly of amateur teenagers who are yet to break into first class cricket, how can I “rally round” that kind of wimpish ineptitude. I have unapologetically made the conscious decision not to subject myself anymore to the predictable trauma of investing my emotions in the fortunes of this team. Sport is supposed to be uplifting and entertaining and not a permanent agent of depression and despondency. routine battering It is not anymore even about diagnosing the myriad problems that have killed our cricket. That enquiry has been going on for two decades and nothing has changed. It is not even about pin pointing the individuals or the systems and structures that have failed our cricket. It is now for me more a resignation that as a fan of West Indies cricket, understanding that it was great while it lasted, but I have played my last innings. I wish to do this no more. Residual curiosity will no doubt see me asking the scores along the way, or even watching the odd hour or two, knowing fully well the risks involved that sooner rather than later, I will witness the now inevitable and routine battering that will ensue. The sad reality is that West Indies cricket has become a joke. But no one is laughing. I wonder if even Mr David Rudder, who wrote and sang those platitudinous words, still believes in them. Rally, rally round the West Indies now and forever more. Rally round the West Indies, never say never. I DON’T!
Dear Editor,Campaigning for General Elections due in 2020 has begun in earnest, and with it the attempts at character assassination that has become part of the parcel. The go-to claim is usually ‘racism’ and I strongly believe this is a result of lazy intellectualism. My experience is of a Guyana where most differing perspectives are due to economic and social positioning rather than ethnicity and some are based on social conditioning within ethnic structures, however, recent statements attributed to the Minister of the Presidency where he asserts there will be no more ‘nice-time’ for opposition (PPP) supporters who ‘sabotage’ his Administration’s programs, are indeed racist and thoughtless. Editor, am I to believe that Mr Harmon has had knowledge of ‘sabotage’ in the past and let it slide? Or that ‘sabotage’ by non-PPP elements will be allowed ‘nice time’ status? The obvious answer is no to both of these questions, Mr Harmon has instead allowed his emotions to overtake his reason and crossed a line in his quest to absolve his Administration of failure to execute even the smallest of projects. With less than nine houses delivered in three plus years, APNU/AFC have boldly promised nine new housing projects in 18 months. Editor, no doubt this doomed to fail promise will be laid at the steps of Freedom House’s ‘saboteurs’ in due course, but the better course of action would have been to re-evaluate the failing policy of delivering ‘ready-made’ houses to citizens. There are thousands of Guyanese living in Diamond, Providence, Tuschen, Farm, Herstelling etc who were provided house lots and who have built their own homes at their own pace as their economic situation allowed.The Harmon line of ‘PPP saboteurs’ has been parroted again by Carwyn Holland’s talk of ‘Manchurian candidates’ among APNU elected councilors. This is the danger of speaking to sycophants- bereft of intellect they believe anything said by their leaders is ‘gospel’.Editor, during this prolonged campaign, the lies that have so often been repeated will be sung as truth, the claim of the execution of 400 black men persists, can we, the people ask that this be independently investigated by journalists and the truth be published? Can we ask the press to investigate what the subsidy has been on each house lot ever delivered to the citizens of Guyana by the PPP, or shall we pretend that only ‘Pradoville 2’ received subsidies? Shall we investigate why Ashni Singh and Winston Brassignton have been charged with ‘gifting’ 4.7 acres of land by selling it at GUY $30,000,000 per acre while current Go-Invest CEO Owen Verwey is lamenting those who refuse to take advantage of incentives? “We have incentives in various categories like general, specific and even land…land has been added because nowhere else you can get an acre of land to lease for lower than US$1, and in Guyana land is being leased for as low as GUY$25,” (http://guyanachronicle.com/2018/11/23/go-invest-aided-45b-in-investments), Verwey would be better off advising Ministers of the ills of nationalisation as done with the Berbice Bridge Company. No amount of $25 an acre land will attract investors to a nation that has no respect for private property. Verwey may also want to seek legal advice before signing any agreement at 12 US cents per acre. Recently I have seen the emergence of claims that ‘corruption and thieving’ have their genesis in the PNC and PPP administrations past, Editor, Strain theory ascribes criminal behavior to the gap between social goals and social structures to achieve them, those who commit crimes have chosen expediency over morality, the crime and blame must rest with the criminal; providing him/her with an excuse is a slippery slope we do not want to go down.Editor, as with above, principles and precedent are often more important than the issue they address, the recent ceding of authority by the Speaker of the House will no doubt have ramifications for future generations, the very public control being displayed by the Prime Minister over the Speaker’s office is offensive to sensibilities, and this type of political expediency comes at a high cost to any nation.Editor, the next General Election is going to be about truth and on which side of it we stand. The integrity of our Fourth estate is critical to our understanding of events. Our very futures depend on it.Respectfully,Robin Singh