Mon | Nov 19, 2018

Paul Wright | Who will stand up?

Published:Tuesday | August 28, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Jamaica Tallawahs captain André Russell (right) and spinner Adam Zampa celebrate the fall of a St Lucia Stars wicket during a Caribbean Premier League game at Sabina Park on August 14.

The Opinion and Commentary pages of The Sunday Gleaner this week made compelling reading. There were six articles, all dealing with the perceived failings of persons/institutions that have failed, or are failing, to improve the life of the citizens of this beloved country.

The editorial lamented the persistent silence of our 'top cop,' General Antony Anderson. As I read the article, I thought of the old saying "Nero fiddling while Rome burns" and substituted, it with "General playing dominoes while Jamaica hurts".

The other articles dealt with the now popular trend of lack of protection of the rights of citizens, in the relentless pursuit of cash. It was a previous prime minister who told us that "it takes cash to care". The new mantra seems to be: "if you have cash, we care." Every perceived assault on our rights as citizens is explained away by statements that are high on promises and short on reality. I then juxtaposed these comments with the outpouring of tributes from friends, acquaintances and opponents of the late United States senator, John McCain, who succumbed to brain cancer on Saturday morning.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said, "Some truths are timeless. character, courage, integrity, honour. A life lived embodying those truths cast a long shadow. His impact on America hasn't ended. Not even close. It will go on for many years to come." Sarah Palin, his running mate in a failed bid for the presidency of the United States, said, "John McCain was a maverick and a fighter, never took the easy path in life, and through service and suffering, he inspired others to serve something greater than self."

Senator Chuck Schumer described McCain as a "truth teller. Never afraid to speak truth to power in an era where that has become all too rare." It then dawned on me that in the leadership core of this country there is no one of a similar calibre. I can think of not one leader or principal in any national organisation who, when faced with the reality of wrongdoing or obvious malfeasance of colleagues, will call a spade a spade. Instead, we hear the usual and well worn, "There is a process. Let us investigate, and then action will be taken".

In the interim, life as it was goes on with a few minions getting the proverbial slap on the wrist, while the 'process' goes on ... until no one remembers what the fuss was all about.

 

Leadership deficit

 

In sports, the leadership of many of these organisations continually lets down the fans and participants with no seeming end in sight unless influential members of the inner circle feel the need to protect themselves from polices and activities that have long been shown to be detrimental to the sport.

In cricket, the name Tallawahs is purely Jamaican and personifies the indomitable courage of the "small man" who is courageous in the face of adversity. Therefore, the name Jamaica Tallawahs epitomises all that is good about this little dot on the world map that continuously punches above its weight in world competition. In the pursuit of cash, the name has been sold to a business that (as all businesses are wont to do) pursue actions and policies that can make a positive return on its investment.

The failure of the Government to put some cash into the coffers of the new owners caused them to look at new and different ways of increasing the possibility of profit. As a result, our "home matches" are shared with Florida, the home base of the owners with the result of "three for me, two for you".

Similarly, the team make-up has a paucity of local-born cricketers who can only look on with envy and longing when matches are played here in Jamaica.

In football, the FIFA regulations about the timing of games vis-a-vis a rest period, are circumvented by technicalities in order to earn much-needed cash thus, the wishes of the coach are pooh-poohed on the altar of revenue that can be gained from a game against Ecuador.

In school sports, the relentless drive to attract much-needed sponsorship has resulted in the exploitation of our children at the altar of television revenue that has the best and most talented of our children constantly playing in competition after competition. It apparently matters not, if some fall by the wayside because our coaches and scouts will find suitable and talented replacements in the blink of an eye. Who will stand up and say "no more?" Who will be the 'truth teller', never afraid to speak truth to power in an era where that has become all too rare? Who?