The current controversy between the West Indies Cricket Board and the West Indies players, headed by their T-20 captain, Darren Sammy, may very well be the tip of the iceberg of a deeper wound being suffered by grass roots Caribbean people.
Whereas the West Indies players have Sammy, the grass roots have “none” to represent them. Why not?
The Caribbean has been suffering from a severe human resource drain involving both its most talented people and its brilliant people. The reasons for this brain drain vary. However, some of the most common reasons for this brain drain stem from victimization, an environment which stifles creativity and imagination, an environment which refuses to expand so as to allow the talented and the brilliant people to achieve their level of self-actualization and the slow pace at which change is taking place.
These varied reasons may very well stem from the quality of leadership which has existed and which currently exists in the Caribbean.
Caribbean leaders, at both the political and business sectors, have failed to answer these basic questions: who are we? where are we going to? why are we going in this direction? and how are we going to get there? The failure to answer these questions has resulted in the absence of an ideology which would have fostered a new identity, the Caribbean man or woman.
In addition, the Caribbean is also suffering from the absence of a closely organized system of beliefs, values and ideas which should form the basis of a social, economic or political philosophy or program. This system of belief should supersede both political and social class affiliation thereby creating a region of equality among all Caribbean nationals. Sammy actually exposed something Caribbean which is bigger than cricket.
The formulation of this new Caribbean ideology should be defined by Caribbean grass roots people because it is their problems which both the political directorate and the business executives should be striving to solve. In a nutshell, both constituencies should be striving to reduce and minimize poverty. However, as a result of high unemployment, crime, corruption and a lack of hope, the political and business executives are more engaged in containing these negatives and creating a more comfortable cushion for poverty.
The thinking may very well be that it is easier to govern poor people than to govern an empowered and wealthy nation. However, whereas the politicians continue to succeed with this style of governance, the WICB will not succeed because West Indies players are wealthier than members of the WICB and therefore have leverage to demand respect. Can Caribbean governments govern a region of wealthy Caribbean people?
The West Indies team demonstrated that they have developed mental processes of abstract thinking and reasoning rather than purely emotional. They were very tactical and strategic in the way they participated in the T-20 competition, i.e. victory by any player possible because they knew what they were up against. In addition, they also demonstrated highly developed skills needed to reason and understand, especially with broad knowledge. These skills may have been acquired as a result of not only playing cricket on different continents but also having to negotiate complex contracts for their talent.
As a result of that global exposure, the WICB is unable to understand why the players think the way that they do, why they behave the way that they do towards each other and why they value open debate and the freedom of speech. The WICB was caught flat footed by believing that they are managing a group of poor semi-illiterate and poor cricketers. But Gayle has told them he will give his match fees to charity.
The positive feedback which Darren Sammy is receiving from Caribbean nationals both in the Caribbean and globally should not be interpreted as a response relating to cricket. The Caribbean people are also saying that we too are being disrespected, ill-treated and under paid by the people who are charged to take care of our best interest. We too want a voice in the way that we are being governed and managed. We too can be successful globally in whatever we do once we are inspired and motivated by all our leaders. We are Champions.