Too much talk, too lit­tle ac­tion

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

IWONDER what is it why politi­cians take so long to do ev­ery­thing, or al­most too long to do most things?

Maybe it is the mark of the pro­fes­sion, or maybe it is a way of mark­ing time. Maybe it is also their way of do­ing noth­ing.

What­ever is the rea­son for it? The peo­ple are tired of it, es­pe­cially in the Caribbean. Politi­cians must en­deav­our to talk less and act a lot more than they do.

For years now, the peo­ple have been cel­e­brat­ing suc­cess in sport, the gov­ern­ments have been spend­ing money – a lot of scarce money – in sport, other cru­cial and nec­es­sary things in the broader so­ci­ety have been left un­done, and the re­sult is that while a few have been happy, the vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple have been ne­glected and left in mis­ery.

With all of this, the peo­ple keep call­ing for more money to be spent on sport, re­gard­less of the short­fall in other ar­eas, and the rea­son for it is very sim­ple.

Suc­cess in any­thing, and es­pe­cially in sport, is good for al­most ev­ery­one, and there is no two ways about it. Suc­cess leaves ev­ery­one in a happy mood. It makes ev­ery­one, or al­most ev­ery­one, es­pe­cially in a Joel Gar­ner

poor so­ci­ety, feel equal and proud and, ac­cord­ing to psy­chol­o­gists, it is good for the fight against crime and poverty.

Al­though sport has be­come a pro­fes­sion th­ese days, and an at­trac­tive one at that, if more money is to be spent on sport, how­ever, some of that money, in a poor coun­try like Ja­maica, should be earned from sports, or through sports, and that money should come, or must come from the in­vest­ment of the peo­ple, led by the gov­ern­ments, in sport.

The West Indies, led by Ja­maica through its many world-beat­ers in sports like cricket, box­ing, and track and field, in par­tic­u­lar, cer­tainly pos­sesses enough qual­ity to make such an in­dus­try a tremen­dous suc­cess.

Even as a novice in the field of busi­ness, I can see the money Dwayne Bravo

rolling in once the in­dus­try is prop­erly put to­gether and ef­fec­tively run, and es­pe­cially so as the West Indies is a top-of-the­line tourist des­ti­na­tion.

This in­vest­ment has been done, in a small way, in, at least, Bar­ba­dos, where Wes Hall once served as the min­is­ter of tourism, and cer­tainly Garry Sobers, Gordon Greenidge, and Des­mond Haynes as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the min­istry, and in An­tigua, where Viv Richards has been used to pro­mote the is­land.

Mostly, how­ever, the fail­ure to use sport to as­sist in the growth of the re­gion, ex­cept in the pop­u­lar­ity stakes, is great.

Re­cently, how­ever, Ja­maica has been talk­ing about it, but apart for talk­ing about it, noth­ing re­ally has been done about it; at least, noth­ing to make peo­ple stand up and take no­tice that Prime Min­is­ter Keith Mitchell

some­thing is be­ing done about it.

And just quite re­cently, the prime min­is­ter of Gre­nada, Dr Keith Mitchell, chair­man of the sub-com­mit­tee for cricket gov­er­nance in CARICOM, no doubt, with cricket spe­cially in mind, called for a Caribbean sum­mit on sport, and in do­ing so, re­marked that sport is im­por­tant to the peo­ple of the re­gion and can be used to grow the re­gion eco­nom­i­cally.

LOT OF MONEY SPENT

“We in Gre­nada have spent a lot of money on sport. A lot of things could have been done with that money, but be­cause of our love for sport and the love for the young peo­ple of the re­gion, we spent it that way,” said Dr Mitchell.

No doubt that money could have been spent on ed­u­ca­tion

and hos­pi­tals, etcetera, etcetera, but as Prime Min­is­ter Mitchell said, sport can be used to grow the re­gion eco­nom­i­cally.

I sin­cerely hope that he re­ally be­lieves that that is so, that as the prime min­is­ter of Gre­nada, he will work to im­prove the eco­nom­i­cal side of sports in Gre­nada, and that, de­spite his sud­den de­ci­sion to give up the job as CARICOM’s man in charge of sport after his no­ble speech, he re­ally en­cour­ages all the other prime min­is­ters that they do so in their re­spec­tive coun­tries.

Only by do­ing that can the prime min­is­ters guar­an­tee, or al­most guar­an­tee, that sport will be prop­erly funded, that the peo­ple of the re­spec­tive coun­tries will truly ben­e­fit from sports, and that each coun­try will con­tinue to put out some of the world’s best sports­men and sportswomen for a long time to come, if not for­ever.

The ques­tion is, how­ever: Why did Dr Mitchell sud­denly re­sign his re­spon­si­bil­ity?

As a politi­cian, it could not pos­si­bly be “be­cause of a cou­ple of dis­sent­ing voices” in CARICOM to his view, a pop­u­lar view at that, on West Indies cricket and his con­sis­tent call for a re­moval of the en­tire board and for a re­struc­tur­ing of West Indies cricket.

As a politi­cian, as the prime min­is­ter of Gre­nada, and as one who, hope­fully, be­lieves in what he has been preach­ing all along, and es­pe­cially in what he had said just a few days be­fore his sud­den res­ig­na­tion, Dr Mitchell sur­ren­dered too eas­ily, and es­pe­cially so, to a cou­ple of peo­ple who op­posed his view of things.

I hope that in his po­lit­i­cal life, he never comes up on a dis­sent­ing voice, or on a bal­lot vot­ing the other way.

CHANGE OF FOR­TUNE

I also hope that the for­tunes of the West Indies will change, cer­tainly as far as re­sults are con­cerned when they start their first day-and-night Test match with pink balls on Thurs­day.

One, two, three and four, five, and six all add up to six losses in a row, or, to be more ac­cu­rate, to a white-wash.

That was after the three T20 matches and the three ODI’s, and if you add seven, eight, and nine for the three com­ing Test matches, it well may be nine in a row.

That would re­ally be em­bar­rass­ing, es­pe­cially as not one of them was close.

To play nine matches, against Pak­istan, against a team that is fa­mous for its un­pre­dictabil­ity, or in­con­sis­tency, and a team that does not even play at home, and to lose all nine, would be un­for­giv­able.

In the T20s, it was the bat­ting, and the bowl­ing that let down the West Indies. In the ODI’s, it was both the bat­ting and the bowl­ing, and in the Test matches, it looks like, un­less there is a dra­matic im­prove­ment in tech­nique, it will be bat­ting, bowl­ing, and field­ing.

And nei­ther Dwayne Bravo nor Joel Gar­ner has said any­thing in terms of what went wrong or did not go wrong to cause the em­bar­rass­ment or to pre­vent the em­bar­rass­ment.

Oh for a young­ster like Babar Azam, who reeled of three con­sec­u­tive run-a-ball hun­dreds in the ODIs!

Tony Becca

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