For the fourth year the Guyana Institute of Historical Research has hosted yet another annual conference dedicated to sharing history and opinions.
The conference was held at the National Library Conference Room, recently. It brought together historians, researchers, educators, teachers and students. The theme bringing this group together this year is ‘History and Cricket’.
This year’s guest speaker was Mr. Roger Harper, former Vice-Captain of the West Indies Cricket Team.
Presenters at the one-day event included Mr. Hilbert Foster, son of former Guyana and West Indies player Basil Butcher.
Foster’s contribution looked at the outstanding contributions of Basil Butcher and Rohan Khanai. Sports journalist Edwin Seeraj gave a presentation on Indian-Guyanese cricketers and cricket clubs. Giving a little female perspective to the discussions was the presentation by Ms. Emily Dodson, President of the Guyana Association of Women Lawyers and a national female umpire.
This year’s theme ‘History and Cricket’ was examined within the context of the sports other contributing factors that have determined its outcome over the years; these included factors such as education, politics and culture.
The day’s proceedings were divided into four panels each chaired by an eminent personality. The first panel was chaired by columnist and University lecturer, Freddie Kissoon, the second by Mr. Loris Heywood of the CARICOM Secretariat, the third by Professor Emeritus Dr. Clive Thomas. And the last by Dr. Melissa Ifill of the University of Guyana.
The other presenters for the day included Physical Educator Mr. Nicholas Fraser of the Allied Arts Department of the Ministry of Education whose topic was ‘A history of sports education with specific reference to Guyana’. Presenting on General elections and ethnic relations in Guyana was Dr. Thomas Singh of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Guyana.
There were several others such as Mr. Lincoln Lewis, Dr. David Hinds and Dr. Nigel Westmaas.
Director of the Institute, Mrs. Hazel Woolford said in her opening address, “the sport of cricket is entrenched in the national psyche. This conference is one of several distress signals for the sport of cricket to be restored to its former glory locally and internationally.”
She added, “As one moves to establish a new partnership between academia and cricket it is necessary to commit to accessing higher education for our cricketers. This integrated management should stem the exodus of talented Guyanese cricketers to overseas clubs … There will come a time when Guyanese cricketers will be required to access academic training at post secondary institutions …”
Roger Harper, former vice captain of the West Indies, in his feature address at the opening ceremony showed the role that cricket has played in establishing an integral part of the West Indian psyche.
He noted that as times changed from the days of cricket clubs only being open to the whites and regional cricket teams being selected on the basis of race and status to the days when the West Indies Cricket team dominated the game at an international level.
He also went into a brief narrative on the history of the game from its earliest inception to the current form of the sport.
In consideration of the fact that 2011 has been designated the ‘International Year for People of African Descent’ the Institute also included exhibitions from the Museum of African Heritage and ACDA.
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