“I am not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running and I’m not turning back. So let us keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you will see it yet! Now that we are on the right track, let us stay on it” – Philippians 3:12 -16.
The journey through life is one where we constantly prepare ourselves for life after death. Otherwise, what would be the purpose of life? It is not my intention to spark a philosophical debate but merely to state my own thesis that we should all strive to be on the right spiritual track. For Christians, the Bible promises that, if we do not see it, God will clear our blurred vision. This gives us hope! On a day to day practical level the purpose of life, in my ‘book’, is to create happiness and avoid pain for oneself and all those within one’s sphere of influence. Last Friday, we were reminded of the frailty of man, their lack of vision and their inability to avoid pain for themselves and those within their sphere of influence. There was the sensational abandonment of the second Test Match between West Indies and England at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. Just ten balls were bowled by West Indies owing to a sandy outfield which was belatedly deemed dangerous, and a ‘health hazard’ to the players. It was reportedly a venue more suited to beach cricket than to a Test match which is the purest form of the game of cricket. Following on the heels of a devastating defeat of England by the West Indies in Jamaica the week before, this second test was anticipated with a level of expectation which some youngsters may never before have witnessed in the Caribbean. Then “poof” without any warning expectations were shattered not only for Caribbean people but also for visiting supporters of the England team who had travelled in their numbers to Antigua for the match. The poor condition of the stadium was known for weeks, if not months. A source close to the construction of the ground told www.caribbeancricket.com that the game should never have been allowed to start and the man in whose honour the stadium was built was predictably ashamed. “This is not shooting me in the foot,” said Sir Vivian Richards. “This is shooting me straight through the heart.” Yet the organisers decided to gamble and they lost thus inducing a self imposed headache. There are many questions; here is an attempt at some answers. (1) Is it true that the WICB was never happy with the Antigua North Sound ground as a Test Match venue since it was built for the Cricket World Cup 2007? All reports that I have read seem to lead to this conclusion. (2) Is it true that the Antiguan Government refused to entertain a recommendation for a change in venue? If I were a Government politician I would have some difficulty in facing a situation which would cause the country to lose significant macro-economic benefits. (3)What impact will this have on the imminent general election in Antigua? I have not done a survey, but if I were an Opposition politician, the possible role of the Antiguan Government in insisting that the show must go on in the face of technical advice would certainly be a platform issue. (4) Is it true that the President of the West Indies Cricket Board is of the opinion that there is no need for “heads to roll” as a result of this debacle? I heard this on radio. If this is true then it is typical of the lack of Governance which pervades public and private sectors in the Caribbean. It has caused considerable embarrassment to Caribbean people not to speak of potential horrendous financial losses for the organisers and all of the stakeholders of the event. Not least of these stakeholders are the visitors who have travelled considerable distances to attend the match. Some group should admit that the blame is theirs. (5) What will be the impact of the decision to mount a Third test match on Sunday 15 February (this column will be submitted prior to this)? It is a hasty decision to relocate to the Antigua Recreation ground which has not held a Test Match since 2006. It obviously minimises macroeconomic losses for Antigua and financial losses to visitors to the island. From a logistical and cricketing perspective, it may be yet another gamble and nightmare. (6) There are so many sports grounds around the world. Did we bring in experts to complement local expertise in dealing with the problems at the North Sound ground and have they been paid? They should be called to account. It is time that we learn the benefits of partnerships in search for excellence. Singapore accesses the best and then trains their own people to take over. You will see it yet!