Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Tony Becca | Too much talk, too little action

Published:Sunday | October 9, 2016 | 10:00 AM
Dwayne Bravo
Joel Garner
Prime Minister Keith Keith Mitchell
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I wonder 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 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 rolling in once the industry is properly put together and effectively run, and especially so as the West Indies is a top-of-the-line 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 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!