About ten years ago, when West Indies had tried everything and were at their wits end how to turn the damaged cricket team around; they condescended to select a little Saint Lucian country boy who had finally made the test team, as captain. It was discernible that Darren Sammy still carried a heavy accented French inflection in his spoken English. It was not long, however, before cricket enthusiasts discovered he had a fine cricketing brain, worthy of further investment. The past decade has proven correct those who bet on Sammy. The man is obviously a born leader bearing gifts from a higher place, fearlessly speaking truth.
Only such a gifted one could speak as he saw it, and stand up for his teammates and his coach, as he did when West Indies won the last T20 World Cup in India. Someone needed to say how crass, unprofessional and insecure the West Indies Cricket Board truly is. The issue concerning the timely procurement of new uniforms for the T20 team bound for India seemed unbelievable at first. For those who may have missed it, Sammy’s interview will someday prove more beneficial to West Indies cricket than the four consecutive sixes Carlos Braithwaite hit at the end of the final match to help grab the T20 World Cup from England.
Efforts by Caricom leaders to follow Sammy’s lead have not borne fruit because of the same old narrow myopic and insular politics. Sammy’s speech condemning the West Indies cricket board has caused the board to behave as a wounded lion. Imagine the board dropped the head coach one day before he was to depart with the senior team to a crucial series of matches against Pakistan. The performance of the West Indies senior team to date in that series has been pathetic and embarrassing. Their improved performance in the final test match may be little consolation; save for the whacko board and the few self-serving individuals who still suckle at its nipples.
Sammy’s criticism of the West Indies Cricket Board after his team won the T20 World Cup was not his last salvo. Last week as he passed through London on his way to the Middle East to witness Pakistan select and plan its internal T20 agenda, Sammy told the British press that he felt West Indies cricket was a mess. Sir Vivian Richards one of the greats of West Indies cricket was equally critical the week after Sammy spoke out in London.
That mess of which Sammy spoke can only be cleansed in the fullness of time, when those with the vision and ability come forward and help usher in a new and brighter day for West Indies cricket. Sometimes, nothing short of a clean sweep is required before one can pick up the pieces and begin anew. Such is the case of the West Indies cricket board. A new board must soon return West Indies cricket to a place of high esteem it once held. Hopefully, future cricketers will be inspired by the victory of West Indies men and women cricketers in the last World T20 in India. One prays that the guts it took for Sammy to stand up as he did for his team and his coach will be seen as praise worthy. From where I stand, the correct man had arrived at the right hour.
And as I reflect on the quality of leadership, which makes certain persons stand out in the teeth of overwhelming odds, it takes me to my beloved politics. Seeing and listening to him with an objective ear, it would be difficult, except for those who refuse to see, not to appreciate the wide gulf between Prime Minister Allen Chastanet and his predecessor. To use the cliché chalk and cheese in reference to the two would be inappropriate, considering the wide Sargasso Sea, which separates them.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet speaks truth in the face of the unsuspecting mountain of financial difficulties left behind by an inept and reckless dissembler. One suspected that there was something cunningly convoluted in the execution of the works at St. Jude hospital and the new EU funded one in the north. One also suspected that the former government had no money to build a suitable cafeteria and laundry at the new EU hospital as required by the EU agreement.
Knowing that that new EU hospital could not have opened without these facilities, the former government proceeded to bluff, lie and deceive, going as far as a large ceremonial naming, and pretending to open, the new EU hospital months ago. To add insult to injury they promised an official opening towards the end of 2016. Only now as the new Allen Chastanet government tours the EU hospital are they discovering the unfinished works in the kitchen/cafeteria and laundry. What kind of leader and government lies so blatantly to the people as the former government did? More importantly, where does such disrespect originate? The hospitals are only the tip of the iceberg of cost overruns and unfinished business. If it is agreed that the successful prosecution of crime is number one priority in a modern state, then what has become of the new laboratory built to aid in the fight against crime? What is the situation of the sensitive lab equipment, including the latest DNA technology in that building?
The former government chose to remain mum on the new lab and when it spoke on the subject, all that one heard were lies. Hopefully, the new Chastanet government will soon pay a visit to the closed forensic laboratory and report the state of affairs to the nation. How soon he expects the new lab to be fully operational is an urgent question. We have now seen sufficient of Prime Minister Allen Chastanet to say with confidence, as we did with Darren Sammy: Cometh the hour, enters the man!