Widely remembered as the Godfather of Rapso, the late musician and cultural activist Lancelot Layne released his groundbreaking song Blow’Way in 1970.
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Failure generates shamelessness
The recent debacle involving the humiliation of the WI team at the hands of the greenhorn Afghans as a follow-up to the equally humiliating elimination from the Champions Trophy and now the uncertainty of even qualifying for the World Cup, point to one instance of how failure often generates a remarkable “shamelessness” in those often responsible for it. I use the term to mean an absence of remorse or any acknowledgement of responsibility for same, and worse, the absence of any introspection or self-evaluation with a view to improve, and with it the corollary of total indifference to public or private opinion as regards such failure.
Here the players must be apportioned some blame but the buck must stop with those who run the game in the WI who demonstrate an almost obscene indifference to the reaction of Caribbean governments and people to blatantly flawed processes of selection often involving insularity and, more often, the inability to get the best players on the team by successfully juggling their interests with those of West Indian cricket as a whole.
In this, such “leaders” demonstrate an amazing lack of good sense and judgment, even to the point of sheer spite! Imagine the average fan watching the Champions Trophy and not seeing a WI team involving the likes of (Chris) Gayle, the Bravos (Dwayne and Darren), Sunil (Narine) and (Samuel) Badree, inter alia, acknowledged as the best in this format, denied this opportunity simply because of the sheer incompetence, and even maliciousness, of those who lead!
But such “shamelessness” does not apply only to cricket. It is a symptom of the disease which has infected many Third World countries like ours where the question of the ethics of human behaviour, to mean a sense of right and wrong in a conventional sense, never seems to matter. Which is why the criminals would murder old ladies and babies without the blink of an eye, or the speedster would kill us just to feed his own ego, or the vendor, as of now, would treble his price because of the often fabricated threat of flooding from the much needed rains, or as with the price of chicken, as if the lack of forex would have any significant short-term impact on local production. And I can go on and on and on! This indifference to the ethics of our behaviour is so pervasive as to be almost cultural, the way to act in any given situation, and even as the guilty must bear some personal responsibility, the place often to look for its origins is in leadership.
What motivation can players or budding players in the cricket get from a leadership that is so obviously inept and so lacking as mentors? And when we look at the examples above, can we not also connect the dots to flawed leadership we see coming from the top in this country. One such was an inspiration in promising to rescue the country from an all embracing corruption of the recent past, but what impact his exoneration of Cabinet colleagues from well advertised wrongdoing have on would be wrongdoers? Would they not sing, “If the priest could play who is me?” And what of the self-righteousness displayed on the other side to such as the above? Won’t the would-be wrongdoer, considering the baggage which they carry, also “laugh to scorn” such sanctimonious behaviour? Good leadership, whether it is in the cricket or in the politics, is a matter of good character, and it sets the moral and ethical tone of an organisation or a country from which its members or citizens can draw, but sadly most leadership falls prey to the tenet that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. What then should we expect from citizens who look up to their leaders as mentors?
DR ERROL BENJAMIN