Eyewitness: Elections…

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…in WI Cricket

In case you didn’t realise it, today’s cricket is big business; BIG, BIG BUSINESS! With all the US hype and chutzpah, did you realise that cricket in India alone pulls in more revenue annually than American Major League Baseball? This growth has been driven in the last decade by the explosion in interest in the shorter forms of the game, T-20 and ODI. The cricketing fan demographic has now doubled to include as many women as men!

The upsurge is largest in India, now the locomotive pulling along cricket in all the 104 countries in which it’s played. In addition to the traditional Test powerhouses – in Asia: India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan; Australia; in Europe, England; in Africa, South Africa; and in the Americas, the West Indies – we now have in all those continents T-20 Leagues that have infused new life into the venerable sport.

And when a sport is pulling all those fans, you know the advertising world will take notice! And this they have! Broadcasting rights have even drawn in US TV broadcasters like Fox, for instance, signing BILLION-DOLLAR contracts with the BCCI of India. And with such sums being tossed around, you know the competition to control the boards in the cricketing nations is going to heat up something fierce. Money, after all, is what makes the world go ‘round, doesn’t it?

Coming out of the amateur gentleman’s era hundreds of years ago, cricket has maintained the structure of clubs grouped by geographical location within countries. They elect representatives at the county and then the country level. It’s all supposed to be democratic, exemplifying the character-building nature of the great sport. But that era is now nostalgia, replaced by a no-holds-barred elections process just like in national politics! Cricket, after all, goes “beyond the boundary”!

And so – with that long run-up! – we arrive at the topic du jour: elections for the Chairmanship of the Cricket West Indies Board. Toppled from its once lofty pedestal, WI Cricket is not exactly setting the cricketing world on fire, but it still has a seat at the Cricket Roundtable – which gives administration officials more than a modicum of influence, not to mention the not inconsiderable perks.

But though Guyana’s done its bit for WI Cricket from the start in the 1890s…it’s remarkable that we’ve never had one of our own become Chair of CWI. It was always snagged by fellas from the islands – even the very small ones. And yet, we were supposed to be one of the “Big Four”!

Well, with oil, our economic profile is now ascendant in the region. And it’s time to match that in cricket.
Go, Sanasie!

…and rigging

Now, whatever we may say about our friends (brothers and sisters, actually!) in the West Indies, they have the moral upper hand when it comes to holding free and fair elections. Even though Eric Williams in TT might’ve encouraged and settled “small islanders” to augment his base, the cheating never really got out of hand. And, for sure, never reached the macabre levels into which Forbes Burnham plunged us – like killing ballot box protectors.

But it does look like this record is about to be changed at the level of the elections for the Chair of CWI. Not anything blatant, like having Region 10 voting in Guyana for GCB positions when there are no functional clubs there! But, more subtly, by changing the METHOD of voting from THE ANONYMOUS standard secret polling to a public “show of hands”. The latter ensures that the insular pressure to select “your own” prevents small islanders from voting for the “outsider”, Guyana.
And this even though the incumbent Skerritt was voted in by secret poll.

…for local govt?

With this COVID-19 pandemic showing no sign of slowing down, do we really want to have the entire country engaging in a mass event like LGE?
Maybe we should all vote by proxy?