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JEFF BROOMES: Only constant is change


JEFF BROOMES

JEFF BROOMES: Only constant is change

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THE LATE Russian-American biochemistry professor and author Isaac Asimov defined contemporary life with the simple suggestion that: “It is change, continuing change, inevitable change that is the dominant factor in society. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account the world not only as it is, but the world as it will be!”

Recently, this quote has been brought forcefully into my thinking by the relatively myopic comments of some of our people. Specifically, I speak of the criticisms of the composition of the Tridents cricket team, the mouthings from one of our union leaders and the grumblings about the changes in culture, governance and civic society.

As a country, we have promoted quality education and embraced technology. With these defining our actions, we can no longer simply focus on doing things the right way but must be guided with a purpose of doing the right things.

We must be led by core principles, vision, thinking and a clear sense of decency. We must also accept and be prepared for the criticism even condemnation that will come. It is natural for people to be afraid of what they do not know or understand, and even to attack it.

That, however, is the challenge to a progressive, educated society that hopes to compete on the world stage in a continuously shrinking global village. We cannot accept the notion that if it is not broken, we don’t fix it. Environments change, so unbroken may now be totally irrelevant.      

There was a time when all regional cricket tournaments pitted national teams against each other. So nationalistic was cricket at that time that special permission had to be sought and granted before any overseas (even Caribbean) player could play in our domestic competitions.

Times have changed, and most of our regional cricket is now played under the franchise system. We have been made to face reality and accept that at the international level we are the West Indies and not any individual country. 

I am pleased that the team located in Barbados seemingly understand the notion of regional integration better than most. We do not need to have seven Bajans in the team, but we fight with four foreign and seven Caribbean players, be they Bajan, Trini, Lucian or Nevisian. I support that position.

There are some people in our society who believe that leaders should only be that in name and should never use initiative or be innovative. These are the upholders of indiscipline who simply allow non-performance to be clouded and non-performers to be hidden.

Recently, the Ministry of Education articulated a new focus and a new set of programmes at our teachers college and the common factor exploded. How dare anyone to make such moves without making them relevant to the process? How dare we change anything without their approval?

There is a definite place for consultation (in some matters), discussion, investigation of other options, but all must be linked to a strategic focus. Good ideas that are inconsistent with the stated goals and objectives are left to be relevant for another process and a decision must be made.

The usual clamour for custom and practice is nothing more than lead intended to anchor one in the past. The world has changed and information relevance is quite transient. Yesterday’s custom and practices are often just a tactic to restrict progress and development. 

As the outstanding songwriter and singer Bob Dylan says: “The times, they are a changing!” The winds of change are blowing and reaching hurricane proportions. There is no turning back!

Jeff Broomes is an experienced educator, principal and community organiser who also served as vice-president of the BCA and director of the WICB. Email: [email protected]

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