Jamaica Observer - Guest editorial

West Indies cricket captain Jason Holder has been a magnificent example to his team mates in terms of leadership, attitude and in doing the work to improve his own game.

As an individual he has reaped rewards for supreme dedication by being classified as the top all-rounder in Test match cricket by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

At number four in the world, Mr Holder is the highest ranked West Indies bowler—skilfully delivering his medium pace from his six feet, seven inches height.

To their credit, Mr Holder’s fellow pace bowlers, Messrs Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel have also shown considerable improvement. All three were central to the series victory over England earlier this year.

Mr Holder is also the top-ranked West Indies Test match batsman at number 35, which speaks to the difficulties facing the West Indies team. Simply put, the specialist batsmen have not fulfilled the requirements.

As the situation now stands, Mr Holder—batting at number seven or eight in the order—is often batting and bowling on the same day of a five-day match.

That reality was much to the fore as India overwhelmed West Indies in the just-ended two-Test series in the Caribbean.

Caribbean cricket followers shouldn’t fool themselves. India—which in addition to their Test series triumph also easily won the limited overs segment of the tour—are far, far better than the West Indies, particularly in terms of batting. It’s not by accident, that India are rated number one in the ICC Test Match Rankings and West Indies eighth.

The statistical difference in batting is stark. Five of the top seven in the Indian batting order in the second Test at Sabina Park are averaging in excess of 40. No West Indies batsman averages 40 in Test cricket.

The long and short of it is that the work must be done to revive the art of batting in the West Indies.

It can’t happen overnight. As Mr Holder has said, there is no “quick fix”. He correctly points to the need for Cricket West Indies to pay close attention to the quality of the four-day competition.

It seems to this newspaper that crucial to any improvement in this area must be the quality of pitches in the regional competitions. To be fair, this newspaper has detected an effort over the last year or two to get away from the low, slow pitches which for too long frustrated batsmen, fast bowlers, and spectators, while flattering spin bowlers.

We believe that despite the poor performances by West Indies batsmen, the pitch produced for the recent second Test at Sabina Park should be a template for first class cricket in the Caribbean.

In our view, that was a good, fair pitch—tailor-made for entertaining cricket.

Beyond regional senior cricket, there is obvious need to significantly improve at the junior levels.

Caribbean cricket needs revival as a sport of mass participation. Also, coaching, officiating, and administration need drastic overhaul. All of which requires partnership of Cricket West Indies, the business community and regional governments.

A big plus for cricket is that it remains, without question, among the top recreational activities, encouraging young people to be disciplined and to practice critical thinking.

Cricket’s leaders should be pushing that “plus” to the hilt.

—Courtesy Jamaica Observer


Public confidence in any government is not helped when the family of a senior government minister is the beneficiary of State contacts. In the case of Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, contracts to his relatives run to over $20 million a year for the rental of property, according to an exclusive Sunday Express report. Put in context, this works out to 8.5 per cent of the State’s annual bill for the rental of private property.

I wish to thank the endorsers of the statement on the “Education of Children of African Origin” articles that appeared in this paper recently. The statement rightly raised several issues of inequality in access to quality education in T&T, by black children (among others).

Every employee in Trinidad and Tobago, regardless of if they work in the public or private sector, is entitled by law to certain rights.

I have been working with the United Nations on Violence against the Women/Gender-Based Violence for the past ten years in Africa, the Arab world, and Eastern Europe. And in Trinidad and Tobago we have had one of those recent uproars over the killing of women and the search for causes. And the primary cause stares us in the face.

The state of existence as a tribalist is when one is living with a distinctive characteristic so as to be identified with a particular identifiable distinctive group. This status quo surfaces to facilitate the tribal member who is excessively loyal to his own group. 

LISTENING to President Paula-Mae Weekes’s address on the reopening of the Red House, even the most sceptical among us could not help but be impressed, indeed be moved, by her departure on the role she was expected to play and the sentiments she was expected to express as head of officialdom, to be a spokesperson for the people on the ground pointing to their “hurt” and the inability of the leadership to address this hurt.