A case of 'too expensive'
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Stabroek News
March 1, 2004

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The semi-finals of the Carib Beer International Challenge Shield trophy tournament ended yesterday with predictably defending champions Barbados and Jamaica advancing to the March 25-28 finals after their games against Barbados and the Windward Islands ended in dull draws.

For the many Guyanese who were hoping that the Shivnarine Chanderpaul-led team would avenge their earlier loss to Barbados and advance to the final, the result must be a bitter disappointment.

But in a way the loss could be seen as a blessing in disguise at least for the state-owned Guyana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC).

Now, at least, the GBC will not have to worry whether or not to broadcast the finals. That decision has been made for them.

For the past four days cricket-starved Guyanese were deprived of news of their national cricket team's progress as the GBC failed to bring the usual ball-by-ball commentary of this all-important match.

Information was extremely hard to come by, except for the updates from GBC. One was forced to seek out the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) website for the lunch and tea time scores and the end of play summary and match reports.

One other alternative was to try and get the broadcast coming out of the Barbados radio station.

How disappointing it is that at this juncture of the nation's development, when a merger between the state-owned GBC and GTV is just around the corner, that information in the form of radio broadcast of an important cricket match cannot be brought into our homes and offices.

General Manager of the Guyana Broadcasting Corpor-ation (GBC) Mazrul Bacchus has gone on record stating that the live ball-by-ball broadcast of the Guyana/ Barbados game was too expensive to broadcast.

"It's too expensive, we can't afford it," the general manager said while declining to go into details after a query from Stabroek Sports.

And while as a sister media entity, we understand somewhat and symphatise with the GBC's position, we feel that something must be done to preserve the long tradition of ball-by-ball cricket commentary which was there before television and which to this day still fills an important void in the daily lives of Guyanese.

How is it that the other CARICOM countries can afford to broadcast these games? Don't they too find it expensive? Are we going to continually complain about money instead of finding ways to achieve our objectives?

Sports teams fail to leave this country to attend important international meets because there is no money. Our sportsmen and women have to resort to begging sometimes in the streets in order to find money to attend international events. Where, oh where are the sponsors when our promising athletes need them?

Perhaps they are all waiting on the year-end Kashif and Shanghai tournament for it is no secret that companies, not to mention the government, seem to be tripping over themselves in order to provide sponsorship for the yearly Christmas football bonanza.

As a nation, it is indeed shameful the way we treat our sports heroes and yesterday's article on fallen boxer Terrence Alli is a case in point.

Sports in the developed world is a multi-billion dollar industry where the media pays huge sums of money for the rights to broadcast not only mega-sports events like the Olympics and World Cup football and cricket tournaments but lawn tennis, golf and athletics meets as well.

Perhaps it is time the media in Guyana look into and devise ways where they too can benefit from this lucrative industry and help in charting a course for the development and ultimate modernisation of the media/sports industry. And in this regard we expect the new GBC/GTV entity to lead the way. Over to you GBC/GTV.