“And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much” – Mark 12:41

I was on an early flight from Barbados to Trinidad last Friday with stops in St. Vincent and Grenada. On the first leg of the journey it was slumber time, only to be disturbed by a passenger boarding in St. Vincent who wanted the window seat next to me. He was in a chatting mood but I think he soon got the message that my sleep deficit had not been eroded and I continued my rest until we reached Grenada.

Refreshed, I then remembered my weekly column. What shall I write about this week? Then across the aisle “in the seat pocket in front of you” I glimpsed a rather attractive looking publication “20-20 Vision – The Perfect Vision for Cricket”. There was none in the seat pocket in front of me, but the air hostess kindly obliged. This is a commemorative publication to signal the advent of this innovative tournament which is available to many via a TV network.

My grandchildren met me at the airport chauffeured by their mother. Oh how they have grown, in a couple of months. After a little romp, I then settled down to the column. Allen Stanford concluded his foreword in the publication as follows: “My Vision for the Stanford 20/20 Tournament is that it will be the catalyst for a resurgence of love for the game, that it will signal the return of the glory days”.

Another significant event in the West Indies cricket world last week, which may have some positive effect on “the return to the glory days”, was the decision by Joey Carew not to offer himself for reselection by the West Indies Cricket Board as Chairman of Selectors. Brian Lara hinted that it would be nice to be part of the West Indies team on the 2007 tour of England, the birthplace of cricket, before hanging up his boots. Is this positive or negative with respect to the challenge to “the return the glory days”?

As was mentioned in last week’s column, Mr. Tony Marshall, President of the Barbados Cricket association and long standing cricket administrator, pointed out that the team which wins ICC CWC 2007 is likely to be one that has paid special attention to its fitness regime. It was also interesting to hear his opinion that sustained success in cricket was also highly correlated with intellectual capital. This presents another set of issues with respect to “the return the glory days”?

Allen Stanford starts his foreword with a conviction “West Indies cricket is an almost tangible force that can unify an entire country, an entire group of people, no matter the differences that might exist off the field, in the houses of parliament or among nations. The energy, the pride, the passion that cricket has inspired in the people of the Caribbean, is not only moving but also infectious. West Indies cricket is the single most powerful statement to the world that although the Caribbean’s population base is small and we lack an abundance of natural and economic resources, as a people, the Caribbean has a spirit, a heart, a soul unmatched in the world”.

If we reflect on this statement, we have a major resource which must be exploited to the fullest. This reminds me that in Singapore they regard their human resource as a very important resource which must be exploited to the fullest. Allen Stanford is showing us the way. He has the financial resources and is willing to put his money where his mouth is. There are large sums of money in the Caribbean. The tax payers provide a tidy sum, can we get at it the allocation for development or is it shrouded in bureaucracy? The donor agencies, the same? Foreign Direct Investment (Stanford is included in this even though he regards himself as a Caribbean man)? The private sector should its constituents not invest more in enterprise development rather than “blue chip” investments, how else will the economy grow in a sustainable manner.

Legacy Barbados, inspired by World Cup Barbados, has identified “Creating the Future Cricket Legends” as one of the targets to be exploited. Oh, what a resource! We really need to garner financial resources and put them behind the development of this asset, if we are going to be a force with which to be reckoned. We are asked to comment on the strategic plan for Barbados, but where is the strategic plan for cricket? Is there one? If so, has it sought to obtain “buy-in” from all the cricket stakeholders?

The 2020 game itself is very exciting, indeed a TV spectacle, even though the standard of cricket in the Stanford competition, from the little that I have seen, may vary significantly from team to team. It is said that this Stanford 20/20 brand of cricket, introduced in a region with an undoubtedly exciting approach to the traditional game, is designed for competitive sport positioning in the North American market. If it is exciting and relatively short then presumably it will rapidly capture market share. May it be a successful business investment and may traditional Caribbean cricket benefit from the huge sums of money invested.