You embarrassed the Nation, Mr. President
I listened to President Ramotar’s address the CARICOM summit of Heads of State and felt embarrassed to be a Guyanese. Unlike Freddie Kissoon and Imran Khan, both of whom responded to the President’s speech, one in his daily column and the latter by way of a letter published in two national newspapers, I do not blame the speech writers. I would immediately place the blame for this international blunder squarely on the shoulders of his Minister of Sports, Dr Frank Anthony, and his handsomely remunerated advisor on Sports Mr. Clive Lloyd.
The Honourable Minister Frank Anthony is cited on as one of the persons who submitted written contributions to the now famous ‘Patterson Report’ while Mr. Lloyd is cited as one of the many persons consulted during the course of the preparation of this “Governance Committee on West Indies Cricket Report”(dubbed the Patterson Report).
One would expect that President Ramotar consulted with these two gentlemen before making pronouncements like those he made at the summit on the topic of Cricket especially since his administration has spent vast political capital in its attempts to disband the Guyana Cricket Board and lambast the WICB at every opportunity both locally and internationally.
The President basically made two points that needs to be addressed: Cricket being played in Florida; and Implementation of the Recommendations of the Patterson Report.
Those of us who actually read the ‘Patterson Report” would certainly have a right to be dumbfounded with the uninformed utterances of President Ramoutar since on page 125 the report recommended, in bold letters, that the WICB change its “Mission Statement” to read:
“To restore West Indies to the pinnacle of world cricket by achieving excellence in performance and commitment on the field of play, by maintaining the highest possible standards in administering and promoting cricket in the region, by helping to spread the development of the game throughout the AMERICAS and by keeping the West Indies at the cutting edge of other international developments”.
The West Indians in Florida, especially those Guyanese who bought out the venue for Two magnificent days of cricket, should remind Mr. Ramotar about his speech when he comes again for those campaign funds.
Also on page 125 under Conclusion paragraph Two (2), relating to implementation, the report stated:
“The report contains recommendations which require a number of decisions to be taken, not only by the WICB and its territorial boards, but also by Caricom and REGIONAL GOVERNMENTS”.
Maybe this is the right time for President Ramotar to tell the Guyanese people if his administration has implemented any of the Report’s 67 recommendations. I am aware that the WICB has implemented, or are in the process of implementing, about 50.
One particular recommendation comes to mind which the GCB has repeatedly lobbied the PPP administration to implement, recommendation 9: 2 on page 117 states:
“Territorial Cricket Boards should seek to get their governments to appoint a cricket master at least in each secondary school and strenuous efforts should be made to get cricket included in the school curriculum”.
This was adjusted, slightly, as the request from the GCB was always for a games master to be reintroduced at all secondary schools, as existed in the past.
I would not repeat the paragraphs quoted in Khan’s letter since this would further substantiate that if the “president’s men” had read the report it would have saved him and this country much embarrassment.
If President Ramotar continues to be guided by the cabal he inherited, we have not seen the end to these international blunders and I will not comment on the St. Lucian prime minister’s address that refers to corruption and discrimination.