Better in past days The marauding dominance of the West Indies team in those glory days was hardly due to any stroke of genius or brilliant structures and systems implemented by the board then, compared to what is happening now. In fact, I would venture to say that things are better today for the average regional cricketer than they were back in those glory days. Other social, cultural and cricket dynamics have significantly shifted over the past two decades and have effectively forced West Indies cricket into relative obscurity. Those are not restricted to the ineptitude of successive boards and administrators. I have long argued that the problems of West Indies cricket are complex and multifaceted and at this point I would like to add unsolvable. West Indies cricket will never return to what it used to be. The game of cricket has evolved globally, but it has done so at an even faster rate in the West Indies. The fundamental factor driving the current reality is the shift in the mindset and focus of the young and emerging players in the region. The advent of the fast, frantic and cash-rich T20 version of the game has rendered the longer versions of the game irrelevant and unattractive to the average young cricketer across the region. This is quite understandable, since the players stand to make ton loads more money and become bigger and more celebrated stars if they become swashbuckling T20 experts such as Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, and Andre Russell, instead of seeking to represent a struggling mockery of a Test team that is merely clinging to the remnants of a triumphant past. The future of West Indies cricket lies in the T20 format and nowhere else. The West Indies are just as pathetic and shameless in 50-over cricket as they are in Test cricket. The natural athleticism, speed, strength, agility plus typically short attention span makes the Caribbean cricketer the perfect fit for T20. Only the blind optimists will remain defiant and continue to clutch at the rhetoric-laced emotional straws being offered as a chance of a full West Indies revival. The hard, cold fact of the matter is that West Indies cricket remains in a serious coma gasping for its last breath, with the life support machine being fuelled by the much-maligned Twenty20 cricket. ONE of my colleagues said in a commentary last week that the West Indies Cricket Board is sleeping. Upon hearing that pronouncement, I contacted him immediately, telling him it was worse. It is not just that the board is sleeping; West Indies cricket itself is in a coma. This conversation took place even before the regional team bowed and slumped to another predictable and pathetic innings defeat in the first Test match on the current tour of Sri Lanka. Blaming a sleeping WICB for the continuous deterioration of our cricket is an easy way out, within which lies a covert denial of the actual gravity of the situation. Many Caribbean fans continue to profess unconditional support for the West Indies team. Again, an attitude buried in a deep-seated denial of the rapid whittling away of the West Indies team and the very institution of West Indies cricket as we once knew it. The many clichÈd rants about returning to the glory days and turning the corner are basically ‘pie in the sky’ dreams based on emotionalism, blind loyalty, and patriotism without any semblance of appreciation for the reality. While the administrators of the regional board provide an easy punching bag for the state of our cricket, my retort to that is that the competence of our administrators is in no way significantly worse today than it was in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
Guyana’s burgeoning oil and gas sector has attracted the Dubai-based shipping company, Gulf Agency Company (GAC) Limited, with the firm partnering with local shipping giant Guyana National Shipping Corporation (GNSC).The companies’ joint partnership was officially celebrated at the Marriott Hotel on Friday. There, GNSC Managing Director Andrew Astwood hailed the partnership between the two companies.“At GNSC, we have been committed to growth and diversification, business development and strengthening our operations and our portfolio, particularly in the area of shipping and logistics and solutions to the maritime sector and the emerging oil and gas sector in Guyana.”“Combining our resources, I have no doubt that we’ll be a strength to reckon with. The discovery of oil and gas presents opportunities for local and foreign businesses to develop partnerships like this and to develop the maritime sector.”Meanwhile, British High Commissioner Greg Quinn, who was present at the launch, was optimistic that this partnership would set a standard for partnerships in the oil and gas sector between local and foreign companies.“I think this is another really good example of a company that is global. It has a UK connection but it’s a global company and who is committed to the market here in Guyana. And they are committed in a way that will benefit the Guyana market and people here as well.”“You know, linking up with GNSC, this is very much a partnership. So this demonstrates what can be done and what should be done. And tonight demonstrates a very clear partnership between a global company and their Guyanese partner.”It is understood that GAC will be recruiting and training locals using courses from their corporate academy. The company already has footholds around the world, providing shipping, logistics and marine services.With first oil just around the corner, there has been much talk about the need for local companies to build capacity to serve oil companies. Partnerships with big international firms have been cited as a gateway to ensuring locals get a piece of the pie.Guyana Shore Base Inc (GYSBI) is another example of partnership, as it is a joint venture made up of Muneshwers Ltd, Pacific Rim Constructors, TotalTec Oilfield Services and LED Offshore.It was awarded a contract to provide shore base services to ExxonMobil’s offshore operations and is responsible for operating a shore base facility at Muneshwers Limited, Houston port.It consists of a 28-acre warehousing and logistics base and is an integral part of Exxon’s Liza Field project, providing port facilities, accommodations on site, fuel bunkering, bulk cementing and mud plants.