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Ezra Stuart

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LONG-STANDING PARLIAMENTARIAN Rawle Eastmond may shortly move a motion in the House of Assembly calling for the resumption of the innings of the popular cricket programme Best And Mason on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio station.
In a letter dated November 26, CBC informed Andrew Mason, who co-hosts the show on Tuesday nights with former West Indies cricketer Carlisle Best, that the corporation had decided to discontinue the programme effective December 31 and that his contract for “the provision of call-in host services” would also terminate on the said date.
But Eastmond, who has been a guest on the programme, which has been aired for the past 15 years, told the Daily Nation “it would be a major tragedy if this programme is aborted”.
“The consequences of the termination of the programme could very well be dire for CBC Radio as a whole,” he said, noting the show brought variety from “informative and probing” hosts, who “regularly raised serious penetrating questions about the state of West Indies cricket”.
“If the Speaker of the House of Assembly permits, I am prepared to bring a resolution or motion, affirming confidence in the programme of CBC and in particular Best And Mason, which is the flagship after six o’clock in the evening of CBC Radio programming,” he declared.
“I think with the level of listenership and interest, if that programme is taken off, the public would be horrified, and the public is not going to be pleased if two other persons are chosen to displace Messrs Best and Mason.”
Queen’s Counsel Ralph Thorne, who has been retained by Mason, told the Daily Nation his client had received “an insolent letter which only attempts to disguise its ill will in vacuous bureaucratic language”.
“Unless CBC does what is the decent and sensible thing, then we will explore every legal recourse to have the programme reinstated,” Thorne said.
In a media release yesterday, president of the People’s Empowerment Party, David Comissiong, called upon CBC’s general manager Lars Soderstrom and board chairman Leroy Parris to rescind what he termed a “backward and indefensible decision, and to reinstate the Best And Mason programme”.
“Surely, of all the foolish and bewildering decisions made by CBC over the years this one, as they say, ‘takes the cake’,” he added.
“How can the taxpayer-funded national media company justify the termination of the nation’s only cricket-focused radio programme, in a country in which the game of cricket is at the very centre of the national cultural identity?” the attorney-at-law asked.
“The sheer mind-numbing folly of this decision on the part of CBC’s management almost forces one to conclude that the hand of partisan politics must be in the midst of this act of tragi-comedy.”