Guyana - World Cup Cricket (Freddie Kissoon)

The Freddie Kissoon column
(Kaiteur News 03/18/06)
World Cup cricket and a phone that the police are not permitted to use

Try as hard as I may want World Cup cricket to come to Guyana , I don't think it will materialise. A reliable source told me that the ICC has discussed alternative arrangements for the Guyana matches in Florida , but visa problems may arise with the American Government for visitors from the sub-continent. (I hope dis man doan have a stink mouth. Guyana had to meet certain requirements before given a chance to bid for hosting World Cup matches. In other words Guyana pre-qualified and was given an opportunity to bid by the ICC. Why would the ICC now be looking elsewhere to host the Guyana leg? Having said that, why in the world would they be approaching USA/Florida to host the Guyana leg - last time I heard there is no cricket stadium there. Isn't Bermuda or some other country an alternative?)

Which Guyanese wouldn't want World Cup cricket to be staged here? Love of cricket is an inherent characteristic of the cultural personality of Guyana . The analyst wears two hats – an objective assessor and a nationalist. The latter must never, I repeat, must never impinge on the former. An academic or a scholar has to tell readers what objectively lies out there. As a person who loves this country that has given me birth, I welcome World Cup cricket. As my fingers move on the keyboard at this moment that I am typing, I am writing as an analyst. (Or a pissed off University of Guyana professor?)

Given the history of political bad blood and the dwindling human resource index in Guyana, I believe World Cup cricket in Guyana is becoming less and less of a possibility. Let's examine three fundamental reasons why this is so. First, poor small countries can yearn to be big players on the world stage, but their small populations and economies do not allow for that. Ireland , Singapore and New Zealand have brilliant economies, but that is not sufficient for them to host either World Cup Cricket, World Cup Football, the Commonwealth Games or the Olympic Games by themselves. Holland , a robust county in Europe, wouldn't even think of asking for the Olympic Games to come to Amsterdam .

Cricket is part of Guyana 's cultural heritage. It was unbearable for the Guyana Government to say we cannot afford to host our leg of the tournament. We couldn't say no, also, because the government wants the political capital that would accrue from a successful tournament. This brings us to the second reason – our economy and infrastructure. World Cup cricket is a huge international commitment; Guyana does not have the resources, the human resource base and the infrastructure to sustain such a prodigious event. This is not a normative conclusion. This is based on a factual assessment. For example, we produce perhaps the best granite in the world. But where is it at the moment? Hotel construction is now in abeyance. (Abeyance??? what about using a simple word for us who are too lazy to open a dictionary.)

World Cup cricket requires a certain number of ambulances and hospital beds. Where are they? Even if the Guyana Government uses its scarce funds to buy the required ambulances (which I believe the ICC says must be at least 12), what is a small country like this going to do with 12 ambulances after March 2007? If the government meets the required numbers of hospital beds, then do we have that number of sick people to keep those beds occupied? Now to crime. The least said about that the better. Last Wednesday, I dropped my kid off at the Phagwah melee in Prashad Nagar. I couldn't get back to her in the vehicular jungle. I went to the police outpost in Prashad Nagar to use the phone to call her on her cell. Brace yourself for this! The police personnel there are not permitted to make calls on the phone. It has been fixed so as to prevent them from doing so. They can only make calls if they buy their own phone cards. I ask readers in all sincerity, how can we allow this backwardness to continue in our country, a country that has one of the worst crime rates in the world? (By voting the incompetent bastards back in power over the past 44+ years.)

Thirdly, our skills bank. Things are going to fall apart badly if and when World Cup cricket arrives. No one will know what to tell the visitors where to go. No one will know who is manning which desk. Telephones will ring out. Policemen will take ages to come. Calls to the Georgetown Public Hospital will frustrate visitors. GPL and GT&T will exasperate visitors to the extent that they may shorten their stay. Trust me! BWIA is going to mess up big time. Of course, BWIA will be courteous to the foreigners not the overseas Guyanese. Few persons at BWIA want to hear the word ‘Guyanese'. (Ow man, there has to be a starting point for everything, give them a chance to find out the weak points. Consider this a test run to the potential booming tourism industry which will emerge -tongue in cheek comment.)

Fourthly and most importantly, World Cup Cricket isn't going to come because of the practice of realpolitik in this country since the fifties. The PPP is banking on the notion that the opposition wants to have cricket, like everyone else in Guyana . But the PPP doesn't understand the psychology of other people, only their own leaders. Just as the PPP will have its image enhanced because of the success of World Cup cricket, the opposition will use World Cup cricket to highlight fundamental structural faults in the political system in Guyana .

The inescapable truth is that the opposition will play realpolitik at the level of oppositional politics to get their agenda out to the international community. This is indeed practical politics. It happens all over the world. Of course, the PPP is basking in the fiction that World Cup cricket is too precious to Guyana and the West Indies for the PNC to be seen as the one that destroyed it in Guyana . But political power comes before anything else in Guyana . The PPP practises the same realpolitik that the opposition will use to disrupt World Cup cricket.

Which of the two major political parties in this country ever put country before politics? The prospects of World Cup cricket is intrinsically tied up with the 2006 election. The 2006 election is in serious jeopardy. GECOM has a long way to go. The slower GECOM goes, the more harm is likely to occur to World Cup cricket.

I would suggest that a sub-committee of the CARICOM Heads of State immediately make contact with the Guyana Government to work out a modus vivendi between all the opposition parties so as to allow the smooth running and success of World Cup cricket. CARICOM has let down Guyana badly in the past. The Herdmanston Accord is still to be implemented by the ruling party. CARICOM is silent about this. It is the shameless abandonment of this agreement by the ruling party that will send Guyana down, and World Cup cricket is going down with it.

Time for CARICOM to act.
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