BC’S B’DOS – Integration lure
IN THE RUN-UP to the 1999 Cricket World Cup, cricket commentators from Australia to Canada who named their own all-time West Indies squads for Caribbean Beat magazine showed a surprising independent consensus on players, but the most impressive common choice was the captain.
Apart from the Guyana Stabroek News sports editor, who chose his countryman Clive Lloyd, everyone in the world picked Sir Frank Worrell, West Indies’ first full-series black captain, to captain its all-time squad – and that is a reflection of what the world thinks of Bajan leadership; and what the modern West Indies needs from the rock.
Barbados is the de facto capital of the English-speaking Caribbean, if only by a process of elimination, with all the other territories failing either entirely or in some way too significant to permit a legitimate challenge.
But I go farther and contend that whatever its source or however it is explained, Barbados is the natural leader of the West Indies.
As a matter of pure physical geography, Barbados, the most easterly rock of the archipelago, points the way forward like an arrow or spearhead, as (Trini) artist and mas’ designer Peter Minshall once pointed out.
The other islands stream out behind the arrowhead and trust that they will be, not get, the shaft. For whatever reason(s), Barbados, armed with nothing but her people and their determination, has made a go of itself. It is the foundation upon which much can be built, for it is strong; but if bricks resent mortar, the whole wall falls.
Times are hard now, and will get harder.
The Republican party in the United States would prefer their own country to fail than it be led by a Democratic president.
Whatever the reason for their madness, it has immediate and drastic consequences for the West Indies; if the United States and Europe tip back into recession, some of our smaller islands may revert to the wild.
If the West Indies is to survive long enough for us to begin to look out as one bloc, sometime in the future, to our wider Caribbean family, we will have to be led by someone.
The first act of leadership for the whole must come from within. Now is not the time for Bajans to look to keep Trinis or Guyanese or Jamaicans or Vincentians out; now is the time to welcome them in – they are the strong blocks you require after you’ve laid a strong foundation.
The occasional European or American may spend more; but the permanent West Indian will give more. We should look to depend on ourselves alone; and we should be led in that resolve by the first of us to do it.
The West Indies can solve, or at least grapple, with its own problems, but we must first discern they are ours; and we must similarly discern ourselves. Any movement must be led if it is to progress.
Sir Frank Worrell was a wholehearted Caribbean integrationist himself, even becoming a senator in the Jamaican parliament. Can Barbados live up to the standards he set?
B.C. Pires is padded up and ready to face bouncers.