On Target
September 16, 2005
World Cup and reality

You could bet on a quarrel whenever anything big is about to happen in the Caribbean. It is the tropical flavour where clashes and misunderstanding are the norm. Those outside the Caribbean need not be too worried about any apparent rift. Caribbean people know how to host their guests and internal disputes are handled despite the concerns of visitors.

Everyone is aware of the economic returns of staging the World Cup. It would signal a take off in the region’s growth. {{more}}

Preparations are going on in frantic manner to fast track completion of the various venues for the matches. The region has realised that untraditional partnerships have to be part of the mix. The linkages are increasing. Even if we have been put to the test, the success of the World Cup, or the very act of staging the event, will be motivation for completing the circle of integration and reaching beyond the trade issues.

It will rebound beyond the cricket arena, the calypso, the Reggae festival, the Blues event, the Creole festival, Regattas, and other Caribbean observances. There will be opportunities for us to shape our destiny. Our survival may even depend on it. And it would not be a matter of making it, but taking the benefits of our investment to a new level in a sustainable and justifiable process.

The ongoing operations at Arnos Vale Playing Field are a sample of the regional programme. The pace is gathering momentum regionally, and with the Ashes decided on English turf, the Australians will be keen to square off again on Caribbean soil.

If cricket needed a fillip even as we build up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, the crescendo caused by the Ashes series will carry on to the ICC World Cup 2007.

The setting is being delicately placed for the World Cup. The West Indies can’t afford to be out of the mix for the championship. We ought not to be mere hosts. We must be in the final at Kensington Oval. Those responsible for regional cricket will have to put their communicational vices aside and ensure that the vast amount of fans at home and abroad, even those with no regional connection, have something on which to pin their hopes.

The West Indies team has a strong support base. And owing to our flair, a number of fans embrace our style.

Cricket from the Caribbean is a treat. Ask Paul Keens Douglas, and he will tell you about the off field action. The conditions will be appropriate for new and exciting activities. Entrepreneurs and investors have to select their spheres of endeavor.

Security is perhaps our most vulnerable area. ICC World Cup 2007 will place the global spotlight on us and tendencies towards copycat acts of terror are not to be ignored.

Then there are natural phenomena. We are a deeply religious people, but we carry on with the worst behaviour and expect the Almighty to forgive us.

We therefore must ensure that we do not foster wrath unto ourselves. For the Master is only too willing to pay us according to our deeds.