Discouraging, disappointing news
Guyana Chronicle
January 28, 2003

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THE love of cricket in Guyana and the Caribbean has inevitably turned it into an indispensable part of a regional culture and an indelible sense of pride among all West Indians.

Undoubtedly, it transcends territories, politics, ethnicity and gender and is the singly most unifying factor among the peoples of the Caribbean, achieving what political leaders have failed to in many decades of persistent efforts on their part.

Perhaps, one of the "sweet revenges" scored against the former colonial master, who was responsible for popularising and perfecting the laws and regulations governing the game, was the fact, that still under colonialism, the West Indies team was able to convincingly defeat them at their own game.

This of course brought and still brings great joy, pride and a euphoric feeling of being able to perform excellently at the international level of the game - discarding the notion by colonialists that the people in the colonies were a docile bunch destined to be under subjugation and domination.

Of course, that famous West Indian, Sir Garfield Sobers, is regarded as the greatest all-rounder of all times, not to mention the long historical string of the finest stroke-players and fast bowlers who have captivated the imagination and admiration of cricket lovers throughout the world.

Following independence in most of the territories the standard of cricket rose dramatically, and consequently, it became a hub of economic and commercial enterprise, especially in the regional territories that were part of the international cricketing arena.

When international cricket is being played in the Caribbean it brings immense joy and economic benefits to the individual countries, notably in the tourism and catering industries which have been given a thumping, since the tragedy of 9/11 in the United States and an alarmingly growing crime rate in several territories.

Against this background it is disheartening, but understandable to hear that the Australian Cricket Board is contemplating to abort the Guyana leg of the upcoming series against the West Indies because of the local crime situation.

This newspaper yesterday reported that: "The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) has written the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) seeking urgent advice on the current crime situation in Guyana and what contingency plans are in place to amend the tour schedule, should circumstances evolve to determine the unsuitability of Guyana as venue to host the tour and the first Test Match."

This is indeed discouraging and disappointing news because apart from the economic and commercial benefits, which the local economy badly needs, the cricket tour would bring psychological and emotional relief to the battered and traumatic psyche of the Guyanese people who have been enduring an unprecedented criminal terror wave for nearly a year now.

Certainly, to avert a further tragedy, urgent, swift and decisive action is required of both the Government and the Guyana Cricket Board and all related institutions and agencies.

Everything conceivable must be done to ensure that Guyana is not deprived of seeing the world's number one cricketing nation in action.

Should this leg of the tour be cancelled, it would be tragic for the Guyanese people, only adding salt to the wound.

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