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Can PM Manning Ever Get Anything Right?
Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2009

By Stephen Kangal
November 05, 2009

When the ethnicity agenda gets in the way of PM Manning's modus operandi, which is the rule, he is doomed to make faux pas after faux pas. He becomes a stranger to the stark multicultural reality that surrounds him. His groping in the dark Caucasian Minister of Sports is caught in the horns of an ethnicity dilemma. He dismisses the outstanding T&T Cricket Team as not winning anything in India. At the airport he merely "notes" the performance. He is a stoic only where cricket is concerned. This is tragic and blatant irrationality.

Not a drum was heard when the team left. Not a drum was heard when the team that seduced the hearts of a billion Indians and 800m Commonwealth citizens arrived at Piarco. Every sound bite pre- and post the final uttered by the Manning Administration is intended to telegraph indifference - to deflate the noble spirits and down play the exceptional and world-wide acclaimed feats of this young, highly motivated and ethnically balanced team.

It is clear to me that cricket has been stigmatized as an Indian sport in T&T. It will be relegated into Central Government funding neglect by the Manning Administration even though the ethnic mix of the players is truly representative of T&T's diversity. The Government found it impossible to give aid to the TTCB to fund the team in India. But it can find $2m to erect a flag. According to their logic that flag, possibly erected by a PNM contractor, will generate more national pride and commendation than the cricket team ever did amongst 1.8bn people. With Bassarath replacing half-Indian Deryk Murray as head of the TTCB the discrimination will intensify. They cannot help it. It is in their DNA because T&T is PNM country.

Why did not PM Manning come down from the watch-tower in his castle and meet all the players when they arrived at Piarco as he did when the Soca Warriors losers returned after the World Cup? Why did Captain Ganga alone go to Whitehall leaving out the players? Were they not an indivisible team in India? Would they have crowded Manning's new office? Was this ill-advised visit engineered to make PM Manning politically good looking?

What is the locus standi of WIPA in this national domestic cricket matter? Should not Deryk Murray of the TTCB or Manager Borde have accompanied Ganga to Whitehall?

The return of the T&T Team has degenerated into an anti-climax - a comedy of errors because of a perception of ethnicity in cricket by the Manning brigade. And the private sector is taking their cue from Government' s position. Look how easy it is for Marlene MCDonald to find $625, 000 for the parang fete de Noel. But the outstanding performance of the Soca-Chutney Cricketers still remains unrewarded and unsung by Government. It is merely noted by Sports Minister Gary Hunt.

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