GOVERNMENT’s decision to agree to the request to host the Caribbean Premier League here this year is an inspired one from the vantage point of creating another avenue for the ventilation of pent-up energy, or frustration, among many in the population.
In the current acceptance of what constitutes the new normal, opportunities for recreation and relaxation have been circumscribed by limitations on gathering sizes, and the opening and closing hours of entertainment locations.
But significant attention will be focussed on us during the period August 18 to September 10 when the tournament is in session. This will be just days after the period of the election season has ended, and the varying emotions over who won and who lost will still be in the air for moments yet.
What is said to be an international contingent of more than 250 players, officials and support staff will be in the country for this tournament, one of the suite of newer, more exciting forms of the game which is a West Indian tradition.
The sentiments expressed by the Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs as she announced the decision of the Cabinet to approve the staging of the event here, bear repetition.
“I think that this is an opportunity to market Trinidad and Tobago as tourism destinations and as a safe place of choice,” she said. “It is a good opportunity to get sports going once again in the region.” She noted that the inability of fans and supporters of their favourite teams to be at the venues in person, and the inability to engage in the kind of fun and frolic associated with such events notwithstanding, “we can do so from our homes”.
Small groups of not more than 25 persons in one gathering of family and friends, when taken together across the country, are going to reflect a different kind of celebration, to suit the circumstances. Of that we can be sure.
One point to note as well, is the relative speed with the negotiations leading to Thursday’s Cabinet decision. It was a matter of days since the Prime Minister had disclosed his openness to considering the idea for the tournament to be held here.
The complexity of arrangements involved in negotiating through all the protocols for adhering to the Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines would have taken some doing to have arrived at the decision to proceed. What this says on the one hand is that there is a well-established template from which those making the decisions and considering the options fed. It also speaks loudly to the fact that where the will exists, the way will also be self-evident.
Given the successes we have had with the relatively high level of discipline demonstrated in the face of the threat posed by the virus, we have now built on the arrangements under which we were guided to this point.
We must move to use this event as another example of how we can be measured, at the same time as we have fun and relaxation, so vital to overall national well-being, now and in the future under the new normal.