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    November 16

  • 10:34 AM

ON THE BALL: Wrong target, Mr President!

JUSTIN MARVILLE, justinmarville@nationnews.com

Added 25 October 2018

bloc-on-the-ball

You really should be careful what you wish for.

Teenagers pray to be adults then wind up with bills. A certain section of the United States wanted back their country and got Donald Trump.

I wanted someone from St Lucy to speak out against the shootings and ended up with Vernon Wilkinson instead.

In case you missed it, the North Stars Cricket Club president blamed everyone from the media to the Barbados Cricket Association and even the National Sports Council for what he deems to be the negative perception of the club ground.

Well, almost everyone.

You see, the problem is Wilkinson didn’t take any shots at the men who’re doing the shooting – yes, the ones who are responsible for the negative perception of the club ground.

So once again, in true Bajan fashion, we refuse to address the real issue by not pinpointing it.

Whether Wilkinson, or any member of North Stars Club, for that matter, wants to accept it or not, there is serious cause for concern in the Crab Hill area because of a criminal element that has forced people to overlook the ground for cricket matches.

It’s that simple.

No one is trying to tarnish the club’s good reputation and I don’t think anyone looks down on the players and members, because we all know they aren’t the ones committing these heinous acts.

The way I see it, people are probably sympathetic to the situation considering North Stars is widely regarded as the fourth best ground in Barbados behind Kensington, the 3Ws Oval and Windward.

I’ve never been to the place, yet whenever I hear someone talk about North Stars it always evokes memories of Courtney Browne’s famous “We don’t play draw cricket” speech from that 2004 regional final against Jamaica.

So I can understand why Wilkinson would be so defensive when it comes to his cherished club. It’s a beautiful club with law-abiding members.

And it’s unfortunate that a report was carried in the media saying one of the shootings happened at the club, when clearly that wasn’t the case.

But let’s not act like this is the reason some of us are shying away from Crab Hill.

No, people are concerned for their safety, and they have every right to be following a series of bloody shootings in the space of a week in the St Lucy community.

Sure, there have been similar type incidents at many other hotspots across the country but many of those are one-off instances that haven’t drawn the police’s attention quite like Crab Hill.

I mean the situation hasn’t got so dire that there was an operation with 100 armed police and soldiers checking every single vehicle that entered and exited the northern district for no fewer than 12 hours.

Sorry Wilkinson, but that doesn’t sound like a safe place to me.

And telling me the shootings didn’t happen on the cricket ground doesn’t really mean much when you admit in the same breath that the last incident occurred a mere ten metres away.

Mario Burke covers that distance in a second and he’s far slower than a speeding bullet.

Any shot putter worth his salt goes farther than that.

One thing is certain, you shouldn’t guarantee the safety of innocent bystanders as if stray bullets never killed anyone in the history of mankind.

When I checked, Mike Maskell is the only Bajan marksman that went to the last Olympics and even he didn’t hit all of his targets.

You just can’t downplay the gravity of the situation in Crab Hill right now when you have residents saying they don’t feel safe to the point of wanting to move out.

Don’t get me wrong, l agree with Wilkinson that life must go on and we can’t let the decisions of few influence the actions of many.

But ignoring their presence isn’t the way to do it.

No, someone has got to speak up on behalf of the residents, the children and the cricketers to let that section of the community know it is not all right to terrorise Crab Hill.

Otherwise, you’ll really have to be careful what you wish for.

We may want cricket to return to North Stars and get a funeral instead. (JM)

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