Prime Minister leads Caricom sub-committee: HOW TO SAVE WI CRICKET?

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. – Angelo Marcelle

PRIME MINISTER Dr Keith Rowley, a passionate fan of West Indies cricket who is clearly hurting by the team’s recent performances, has been appointed chairman of the Caricom Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Cricket.

On Facebook, Dr Rowley posted, “Prime Minister of Dominica and chairman of Caricom, the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit made the announcement during the closing press conference of the 45th Regular Meeting of the Caricom Heads of Government held at the Hyatt Regency, Trinidad today (Wednesday).”

Skerrit said the sub-committee on cricket will meet with Cricket West Indies (CWI) soon.

He said, “By chairman decree, I have appointed him (Rowley) as the new chairman of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on cricket.

“We have agreed with the president of the West Indies Cricket Board/Cricket West Indies to meet sometime next week where we shall meet to discuss West Indies Cricket and how we can work together to better position our cricket in the Caribbean to come back to the glorious days.”

Caricom chairman and Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit. FILE PHOTO –

Skerrit said the region cannot lose hope, saying, “I still believe that we have to rally around the West Indies.”

West Indies were once known as one of the world’s best cricket teams producing talented players who were admired around the globe. The likes of Sir Vivian Richards, Sir Clive Lloyd, Larry Gomes, Desmond Haynes, Sir Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Brian Lara were household names.

During a 15-year period between the early 1980s and mid-1990s West Indies did not lose a Test series.

Since the mid-1990s the performances have declined and most recently West Indies failed to qualify for the 2023 International Cricket Council 50-over World Cup after not delivering in the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe. West Indies won the World Cup in 1975 and 1979 and this is the first time they will not compete in the tournament.

After a defeat against Netherlands in the World Cup qualifiers, Rowley was disappointed.

On Facebook, he said, “Today I saw THE WORST CRICKET MATCH ever played by a West Indies team. This amateurish demoralizing embarrassment has to stop. Playing for West Indies requires a desire to fight, to believe, to win. To saunter through to defeat is unacceptable.”

Rowley said playing for West Indies should be viewed as an honour.

“Playing for West Indies must be a treasured privilege available only to the best that are prepared to show character in defence of our legacy and our pride. Those to whom these truths mean nothing must not be allowed out in West Indies colours.”

Rowley is no stranger to cricket in the region as he was previously on the Caricom sub-committee on cricket. Rowley, along with other leaders in the region, including Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves and former Grenada Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell have been vocal when it comes to West Indies cricket.

Dr Gonsalves, who was in Trinidad earlier this week for Caricom’s 50th anniversary celebrations, told reporters on Tuesday he was concerned by the performances of the West Indies team.

“If some of those guys who are playing West Indies cricket were parliamentary representatives the people would have done vote them out for lack of performance. They would have thrown them out of office,” Gonsalves said.

Former TT Cricket Board and CWI director Dr Allen Sammy was an elated man on Thursday.

Former TT Cricket Board and CWI director Dr Allen Sammy. – File Photo

On Saturday, Dr Sammy told Newsday it was time for Caricom to step in.

After hearing the news of the appointment of Rowley to lead the sub-committee, Sammy said, “I welcome any initiative by the Caricom to involve assisting the development West Indies cricket and even through the appointment of a sub-committee headed by the Honourable Prime Minister.”

Many reports have been written in the past in an effort to improve the running of West Indies cricket. These reports have been led by Caricom leaders. The Patterson report, chaired by former Jamaica Prime Minister PJ Patterson, was completed in 2007.

Sammy said past reports on West Indies cricket benefited cricket in the region.

The former CWI director still believes in West Indies cricket, but said the territorial boards need support. He said it is not just about financial backing.

“I am also talking about manpower. I am talking about utilising the skills we have in the private sector…such as human resource development, financial planning and that kind of thing. That is not money, that is manpower.”