We believe that former government minister, community activist and sports organiser Hamilton Lashley has served this country well. His patriotism cannot be questioned.
We also believe that most, if not all, of what emanates from his mouth comes with significant input from both heart and brain.
That he has been able to convince the constituents of St. Michael South East of his genuineness and commitment to them via a seamless transition from Barbados’ two main political parties is testament to the esteem and respect with which he is held.
It is because of the influence which he has among both the young and the old, that recent reported comments attributed to him, and hitherto not denied, give us cause for some sober reflection.
With the highly anticipated Limacol Caribbean premier League just two weeks away from its inauguration, Lashley has publicly criticised the fact that a Trinidadian, Kieron pollard, has been appointed as captain of the Barbados Tridents franchise. He has stated that a Barbadian, rather than a non-national, should be the captain.
It is true that the Jamaican Tallawahs franchise is being skippered by a Jamaican in the person of Chris Gayle; the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel franchise is being led by a Trinidadian in the person of Dwayne Bravo; the St. Lucian Zouks franchise is being led by St. Lucian Darren Sammy; and Guyana’s Amazon Warriors franchise is being captained by Guyanese Ramnaresh Sarwan. The Antigua Hawksbill franchise, similar to the Barbados Tridents, is being led by someone not born in that island, Jamaican Marlon Samuels.
We often talk about CARICOM integration and terms such as single market and economy, and the concept of one people and one Caribbean bloc, have been bandied about by regional politicians and policymakers for decades. Sadly, with too few exceptions, we have not move very far away from empty talk and well-intentioned rhetoric.
And we say today that people with such great influence such as Lashley do the ongoing quest for meaningful and tangible integration no favours with thoughtless, seemingly nationalistic claptrap.
Here is an event coming at a juncture where all the islands are experiencing flagging economies and which has the capacity to give a much needed boost to several sectors, in addition to providing quality cricket, and Lashley would seek to create an issue where there is none.
perhaps, he does not comprehend the notion of franchises or maybe like many Barbadians, he is afraid that this might be another instance of a “Trini invasion”. The fact that Barbados has benefited in significant terms from much of this “Trini invasion” is apparently lost in the eagerness to wear nationalism on the shoulders.
pollard is captaining the Barbados franchise and we should be glad to have him. He is one of us. What our Barbadian cricketers should be striving towards is upgrading their skills and international profiles in this particular form of the game. Then, they too would first be designated as the main franchise players and perhaps get the chance not only to captain the country of their birth but any of the other islands that we preach are all one.
perhaps Lashley should check his history and discover that Sir Clyde Walcott, born in the New Orleans in the heart of Bridgetown, captained Guyana, or British Guiana as it was then called in 1956 and beyond. Sir Frank Worrell, born in Bank Hall, not only played for the Jamaican national team, but was a member of the Jamaican Senate. Sir Wes Hall, born a stone’s throw from Her Majesty’s prisons at Glendairy, wore the Trinidad and Tobago crest proudly while representing that country in the Shell Shield regional cricket tournament in the mid-to-late 1960s.
And there are many more Caribbean sportsmen, politicians, technocrats and other high-ranking officials who have had leadership positions in countries across the region other than the places of their birth and who have served with distinction. Long may this continue.
We cannot preach Caribbean integration from one side of our mouths and then seek to grab gratuitous headlines by spewing enthusiastic foolishness from the other side.
Inasmuch as we have previously called on the region and the wider world cricketing community to embrace and support our inaugural Limacol Caribbean premier League, we encourage Barbadians to support pollard’s leadership of the Barbados Tridents.