EDITORIAL: Need policy on how to treat figures
THANKFULLY, the Desmond Haynes issue has been amicably settled and should be behind us, but it has exposed the country to some weaknesses which must be corrected sooner rather than later.
It was most unfortunate that the incident, which caused the former Barbados and West Indies opening batsman much shame and anguish, took place in the first place. That he was not treated with the respect and dignity accorded VIPs was most regrettable. The situation clearly left many cricket fans and even those who are not passionate about the game very upset.
The public would want to know the findings of the investigation being carried out by Kensington Oval Management Inc. and the Barbados Cricket Association. But the deed has already been done and highlighted.
This unfortunate saga in which Mr Haynes was subjected to unacceptable treatment while trying to enter the facility where his name adorns one of the stands, cannot be blamed just on any over-zealous guard. Neither should it be dealt with in the usually dismissive Barbadian retort: Who he think he is?
Seven years ago, the same Kensington Oval hosted the final of the Cricket World Cup (CWC) for which this country spent huge sums of money. Emphasis was not only on what took place on the field of play, but on various other activities. One dealt with the training of people to handle event management, which would redound to our benefit beyond cricket. There was to have been the legacy component of CWC 2007 which would have ensured Barbados was well equipped for future similar occasions.
What happened to Desmond Haynes tells a different story. It shows there is no clear system in place on how to treat and deal with national figures and celebrities. Given the island’s stated intention to promote the cultural industries, including hosting major sporting and entertainment events, this incident raises concerns of our preparedness.
In a country where there is a living National Hero, The Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers, a retired governor general Sir Clifford Husbands, and two former prime ministers – Sir Lloyd Sandiford and Mr Owen Arthur – we must be clear on how we treat these people. It cannot be an issue simply for some protocol official. Their status demands that certain privileges be accorded them at all times.
Special consideration must be advanced for the former prime ministers who, having demitted the most powerful office, should be treated with a certain level of dignity. How we treat our former top political leaders now should not be compared with what obtained previously.
This country is sophisticated and mature enough that we must do things the right way. There must be a clear blueprint in place before the country is faced with another embarrassing moment. A word to the wise.