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Politics, Legacy and the CWC Debacle
Posted: Sunday, March 4, 2007

By Stephen Kangal
March 04, 2007

Ever since the establishment of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of CWC I never cease to agonise how current politics demoralises cricket and the playing fraternity. Both the Queen's Park Cricket Club (QPC) and the T&T Cricket Board of Control (T&TCBC) have historically organised and conducted our cricket (Regional and Tests) with success both on and off the field of play. Examine the outstanding double success of the Senior Chutney Soca Cricketers in 2006 and 2007, the Youth League and Sunday Leagues. Have any of the current LOC political implants ever been involved in local cricket administration except peripherally for LOC Chairman Anand Daniel?

The outstanding administrators attached to both those cricketing entities as well as our former Test cricketers have been politically left out of the membership and feeding trough of the $100 million budget of the LOC. Could not the QPCC/T&TCBC have been requested to delegate representatives who will have provided the necessary experiences in the management control of the game to the LOC operations?

Could not the QPCC/T&TCBC have formed a consortium and received a contract from Government to serve as the LOC and to transmit the experiences derived thereto for the future development of the sport? The links to be established during the CWC with all the cricketing countries will be enormous, beneficial and unique.

The LOC has amongst its membership a former beauty queen, the son of a Government Minister and cloth/drug merchant and several incognitos who appear not to know the difference between balls and bails. These novices will gain valuable new experience in international cricket administration and massive pay packets from the $100 million LOC budget after the CWC '07. Of course they will not volunteer to upgrade local cricket administration across T&T after April 28 because that is tantamount to unpaid labour of love of the game.

Is it not strange that so many problems have arisen with respect to the staging of the mediocre CWC Brown Package? These include incomplete facilities at the billion dollar Torouba and at the Oval, T&T tickets being sent to Antigua, lack of effective communication with the local public, traffic gridlock around the Oval and the domination of the ICC in destroying the unique, natural and spontaneous cultural ambience in which Calypso Cricket has flowered in the Caribbean. T&T World Cup Cricket is reaping the fruits of a bunch of inexperienced cricket officials in the LOC who are the beneficiaries of political patronage but have no track record in managing cricket tournaments.

For once did PM Manning foresee the lack of calibre of his politically appointed LOC and personally chose the Brown Skin Gul Package because he had Queen Penny Commission in mind to run things? Why does the natural love and passion for cricket result in a huge Indian activism in cricket administration in T&T but when Government intervenes in cricket, such as in the LOC of the CWC, the ethnic equation changes ruthlessly?

Do you think that in staging an international soccer event, tried and tested TFA officials would have allowed Government to railroad and marginalise them as the T&T Board/QPCC allowed the current and future administration of cricket and CWC '07 in particular to suffer in silence? What legacy of improved cricket administration and vital links in the cricketing world after the CWC '07 will accrue to T&T to complement and advance the current golden age of our cricket? None!

Will the $10 million upgraded private facilities of UWI with its restricted access and red tape provide the facilities legacy for the growth of regional/ county/ youth cricket in East Trinidad? Was not Guaracara Park more suitable as a practice venue both in terms of geographical equity, spectator-ship and future cricketing events? All World Cup games are in the East-West Corridor as a political quid pro quo.

From an infrastructure and administration viewpoints, CWC '07 will leave us in T&T no cricketing legacy, but that is no big thing because for our Government cricket is treated as an Indian sport that can be ignored because it has no electoral value for the PNM.

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