“There is nothing more West Indian than cricket. There may be things that are more Trinidadian or Guyanese, or things that come more readily to mind when we think of Jamaica or Antigua – idiosyncrasies of each country in the chain – but no institution of government, trade or culture has been more enduring. Indeed, it might be more accurate to consider it not the most West Indian thing, but the only true West Indian thing, the only thing that belongs equally to all the countries that comprise the West Indies” – Excerpt from Anu Lakhan’s article in the May/June 2005 issue of the BWIA Caribbean Beat.

This column records an historic moment in my life. Last Friday I visited Trinidad to meet my first grandchildren, two weeks into their life on earth. Of course, Granny Springer beat me to it the week before to join the maternal grandparents and extended family who are on the spot rendering yeoman service to the sleep-challenged parents. After the euphoria of the moments when I held each of these petite bundles of joy in my arms, I jogged my mind to recall the corresponding experiences with my own children but without significant success. What did jolt be back to reality was the responsibility that parents, grandparents and great-grandparents (I am sure my mother would not want to be left out of this) have in acting today in such a way that the future is protected for posterity.

Entrepreneurial Development is essential for sustained economic growth which, in turn, is a necessary ingredient to protect the future for posterity. Trinidad and Tobago’s Venture Capital Incentive Programme will soon be mounting a one-day workshop followed by an Entrepreneurial Showcase in Grenada. VenturePoint 2005 is the sixth annual VenturePoint meeting organized by VCIP and will be held on Thursday 02 and Friday 03 June. Thursday will be dedicated to plenary and interactive dialogue sessions and on Friday VenturePoint 2005 will also continue its tradition of providing opportunities for financing and deal making through the Entrepreneurial Showcase where entrepreneurs and business owners market their business ideas to a panel of investors and financiers in order to attract funding for their initiatives.

If the problems of the entrepreneur and business owner are clearly understood by the financier, then the financier has an opportunity to consider re-designing his/her products and services to meet the needs of the business. Then provided that management services are accessible to the business, we will be well on the way to success. If the challenges of the financiers are well understood by the entrepreneurs and business owners, then there may well be an opportunity to tailor the project design and implementation activities to meet the financiers’ constraints.

VenturePoint 2005 will be the meeting place of entrepreneurs, business owners, financiers, investors and policy makers attending the only annual business conference in the English speaking Caribbean with a focus on developing the Small and Medium Enterprise Sector, through private equity financing. The conference is the signature event of VCIP, to facilitate an increase in the supply of financial capital in the small and medium enterprise sectors (SMEs).

This year the conference theme: “Recovery and growth through entrepreneurial development”, is sharply focused on continuing to map the foundational elements of entrepreneurial development in the region.

It was on my journey to Trinidad that I picked up the In-Flight magazine and read the above excerpt. Here we have a resource, the West Indies cricket brand, and we are fooling around with it. I speak of the sustained dismal performances, the continuing decline of the performance of the West Indies cricket team. No it does not go in cycles! If we believe this, the external environment will devour us and West Indies cricket will soon be extinct and with it our Caribbean reality. West Indies cricket is an enterprise that has to be shepherded, like any other enterprise, with the optimal combination of money and management along the journey if it is to have a good chance of sustainable success. We must look to good leadership and management to stage a recovery, not to the phases of the moon.

At present the money and management mix is focused on the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 because of the imminence of this event. Two months ago I wrote in this column on ‘A strategic focus needed for our economy’ and concluded that ‘Our focus should therefore be to develop and implement a rolling ten-year national strategic plan based on the expansion of these net foreign exchange earning and saving sectors’. West Indies cricket has a central role to play in the development of the economies of the Caribbean, but a strategic focus is required to challenge the status quo which is presiding over the decline.

In three weeks time (June 14), there will be a one-day Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMExPress) event in Antigua for media and tourism-linkage industry personnel. The primary topics of discussion will be Disaster Preparedness and ICCCWC 2007. It is expected that in the Interactive Dialogue and Talk-Back Live sessions that the question of the sustainability of the West Indies cricket brand will emerge. Hopefully some lessons will be learned to link cricket and Caribbean unity.