Cometh The Hour, En­ter The Man

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Peter Josie

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!

Speak the truth as dear Sammy did, and all will be fair in old Saint He­len.

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