Friday, April 12, 2024

Joy, disappointment


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IN THE LAST FEW DAYS we have seen the best and worst of times bringing great joy and hope and, on the other hand, feelings of bitter disappointment and possible lost opportunity by a listless, lacklustre performance.
The heart-warming victory of the West Indies cricket team over Sri Lanka in the Twenty20 World Cup last Sunday did wonders for the spirit of Caribbean people. Having been at the bottom of international cricket for so many years it was a wonderful fillip for the team and regional people.
It is to be hoped that the victory, along with the appointment of a new chief executive officer for the West Indies Cricket Board, leads to a new phase in the growth and development of the game written indelibly in the DNA of all West Indians.
Too much time, energy and goodwill have been lost through the years in the numerous disputes between the board and players resulting in expensive settlements for the players. It is to be hoped that these constant conflicts have ended and the road ahead is paved with understanding, mutuality and goodwill.
There is no doubt that the team’s performance suffered for over a year because of the contretemps between Chris Gayle and the board. It defies logic that in a region full of well trained, distinguished legal minds, differences between the two sides should be so protracted depriving the team of the stellar talents of players like Gayle and Sarwan.
It is also to be hoped that when the board sets up a committee like the one headed by former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, the submitted report is treated seriously and acted upon. To ignore its recommendations constitutes a waste of money.
All West Indians should rejoice at the team’s individual performances. But above all else the victory was a triumph for Darren Sammy who, during the entire time he has been captain, has adopted a never-say-die attitude under intense public criticism, always anticipating the best next time. For him, Sri Lanka was a triumph of experience over eternal hope.
The management team must also be congratulated for moulding a fit, well trained group of young men who understood the value of standing together shoulder to shoulder. I cannot remember the last time a West Indies team was better on the field – catching, ground fielding, throwing to the wicket.
The Sri Lanka victory has turned a new page in our cricket. Let us hope that the new standard becomes a permanent feature of West Indian cricket.
My bitter disappointment came at the performance of United States’ President Barack Obama in the first presidential debate with the Republican candidate Mitt Romney. It was a performance which defies a logical explanation, is being reflected in the polls and has given the down-and-out right wing a glimpse of possible victory.
The world saw the normally confident, articulate and avuncular president looking completely out to sea and refusing, for reasons best known to himself, to refute the numerous misrepresentations Romney made. Whether it was health care costs, taxation or the unemployment figures, Romney bent the truth to reflect negatively on the Democrats.
Whereas the severely conservative Romney came on to the platform deliberately moving to the political centre, well prepared and confident, Obama looked tired, unprepared and bored.
Worse still, he kept looking down at the podium rather than looking straight at the challenger. It always smacks of a lack of confidence when in a one-on-one confrontation one party avoids direct eye contact.
When the delinquent party is black and his opponent white, then it raises all sorts of questions about real or imagined inadequacies even if the party is president. To hear him say that he was being “polite” is a palpably poor excuse for an abominable performance. Significantly, Romney did not consider it necessary to be polite to the president and commander-in-chief.
Politics is about power, getting it, using it and keeping it. Romney wants to be president. He and his cohorts will spare no effort, including misrepresenting facts and figures, to reach his ultimate goal. It is unfortunate that a candidate, the chronic flip-flopper, seeking the world’s most powerful office, should have to resort to misrepresentations and performance enhancing, outright untruths to get the keys to the White House.
That was the first of three presidential debates and Obama has time to prepare himself and restore the confidence of his admirers left shell-shocked and disappointed after the first debate. A day, they say, is a long time in politics.
The election is 23 days away.
Romney got a significant bounce from the first debate which the polls said he won 72 per cent to 20, with some key battleground states moving from an Obama plurality to a tie. He must expose Romney’s inadequacies, arrest his momentum and win the election.
• Peter Simmons, a social scientist, is a former diplomat. Email

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