CPL Celebrates One People!


IMG_20160705_212258At Warner Park, CPL celebrates one people; one nation (Photo: Peter Adrien)

 Warner Park and the CPL reminded us that we are one people! Did you sense it while you were enjoying the game? On Thursday night 5th July, Warner Park was a showcase of the “new St Kitts and Nevis” – a cosmopolitan population celebrating the binding tie that makes this little “sugar country” a major attraction in world. They used cricket as the medium for celebrating the spirit of humanity, brotherhood, sisterhood and community that combine to make this 68-square mile micro state leap-frog from a monocrop society (the American so-called banana republic) to a first-world society in just over a decade (between 2000-2015), the result of deliberate government open policy of growth and development.

The “photo” above tells the complete story of the “new nationhood”, the new society well inserted into the global village. Yes, at Warner Park, CPL taught both supporters and detractors that in the last fifteen years, St Kitts and Nevis have emerged into a community where, by and large, the people (particularly, the new generation), are no longer fettered by race, color, class, origin and fraternity. It is really different colors; one people as Lucky Dube would say.

Yes, we are Caribbean! We are West Indian! Did you know that there is a “manifest Caribbean Nation?” Some protagonists have been on a “Caribbean Nation” crusade from colonial days; others have been proselytizing since the anti-colonial developments that led to the Moyne Commission and later, the West Indies Federation; and some, unfortunately have suffered for their “inordinate passion” but have continued in what is a relentless education or re-education on regional identity.

Even if I have sensed the bonding effects of West Indies Cricket and have written much about it, the four matches at the Warner Park, St Kitts and Nevis in the 2016 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) brought this fact forcefully to me again. Upon reflection of the conversations that I partook in, the moods that I observed, the emotional involvement that I saw, and the nature of the friendly rivalry that I witnessed, these confirmed to me (a protagonist of Caribbean Unity), that CPL makes us bring out our sense of Caribbean nationhood. Hurray! Bravo! Congratulations!

Here are a few revelations. One individual declared that he wants The Saint Lucia Vouks to win because he is Saint Lucian but would enjoy the outcome, if the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots win because he considers himself Kittitian. I overheard some fans from Guyana saying that they want the Amazon Warriors to win but would be happy with the outcome if the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots win. In both cases, it seems inasmuch as the fans love the country of their birth, they identified with the country they now call home. Moreover, the nature of their rivalry is as far as the east is to west as we see in European football or American basketball.

Moreover, one reflection of the Caribbean nation as seen in cricket, is the fact that we all take ownership and seek to protect our West Indian professional cricketers irrespective of which country they were born. Dwayne Bravo is our Champion; Darren Sammy is our Champion; Chris Gayle is our Champion; whether it is the Guyana Amazon Warriors or the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, they are our teams! Our Caribbean nation teams!

However, I must acknowledge that on the other side of the fence is a cloud of witnesses, that is extremely antagonistic to the usefulness or the relevance of the term (Caribbean nation), their experiences speak loudly of a prevailing spirit of disunity rather than community. And fortunately their stories are not altogether nice for them to write home about. Some were crushed by apparently “mad men in authority” who hypocritically championed multilateralism, community and integration in the appropriate fora but returned to their little satellite state to spew and establish  petty nationalism and tribalism in the name of growth and development for “our people” (fortunately for us, Caribbean history has confirmed that some of these maladjusted leaders were indeed aspiring despots and benevolent dictators), spurring anti-foreigner/immigrant policies that kept the regional population divided along national lines. In the process, some of our regional brains (human capital) were deprived of freedom of movement, the right to work or ply their trade. Those that were more resilient to the threat of hostility were categorized as enemies of the people and the state, and were deported as common criminals, no matter how deep their ties had become in their transient domain.

If you recall, some critics, opinion-setters were run out of their own homeland unable to find safe berth in their country where their umbilical cord is buried. Those who refused to seek refuge in North America, Europe, Central and South America or in some more enlightened Caribbean country, were tormented, haunted and even killed – they had to be silenced by any means necessary because “one-eye man” would not allow himself to be removed from the spotlight.

Some others harbor bad memories of Caribbean integration – Caribbean nationality – because as we speak, notwithstanding the great strides we have made in the Eastern Caribbean, in particularly, we are still treated as second-class citizens in our own countries, reflecting the stubborn vestige remains of colonialism and its associate, racism. The revolution in education as reflected in the colossal growth in access to education from the cradle to the grave; the phenomenal growth in the inventory of knowledge and skills in our Caribbean society; the fact that a bachelor’s degree is merely an entry requirement for most jobs, many of us (particularly the so-called educated) are yet as Bob Marley would say, to be emancipated from mental slavery. We just “love” our white masters and just “don’t love” our black brothers and sisters; and we make this difference manifest at our borders, in our public service, in parliament and Cabinet, and in our board rooms.  Our public policies (incentive regimes in particular) entrench that disparity and ensure that the black entrepreneur does not operate on the same level playing field with the white entrepreneur, many of them, poor whites who come to our Caribbean society, use our liquidity and carry businesses subsidized with our taxes.

Lamentable, of late, the tribal call is becoming louder, reflecting the contradictions of the new world community – “becoming an inextricably linked community” and, at the same time, becoming more and more hostile to immigrants (ask the Brits about this; they will tell you what role the second development played in the crippling “Leave Vote” to divorce themselves from the European Union (EU) on Thursday June 23rd 2016 – we will address this issue in a separate article). Even in those Caribbean jurisdictions that are not very economically troubled, we hear the cry daily on the Talk Shows. If it is not the Chinese, it is the Indians; if it is not the DRs, it is Windwards; if it is not the hucksters from Dominica, it is the vendors from Guyana. When will we learn, these are not the enemies. They are the good people of our Caribbean nation (society).

Stop! Not so fast! You must be saying, what a depressing environment I have painted? What an unfriendly place our post-federation enclave has become? What a hostile atmosphere we are creating for our own black brothers and sisters?  In fact, our antagonists may be angry, offended or bitter, but they are neither mad men (men the generic sense) nor are they seemingly practical men who are led astray by an irrational voice as John Maynard Keynes said of a group of irrational economists in his day. His famous quote is “Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”

We are reminded that “the foreigner who resides with you must be to you like a native citizen among you; so you must love him as yourself, … I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:34, NET Bible). And as a Christian community, let us remember, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28).

Throughout the world, there are many great rivalries that exist in football, but there is no fiercer rivalry between two nations. Many of these rivalries have existed between these nations for a long period of time, and in most of their matches, a spot in a major tournament or a major trophy have been on the line, along with the satisfaction that one country has defeated its biggest rival. On the contrary, cricket has brought the English-speaking Caribbean closer as a region. Many argue, if the Federal project has been sustained, we would have become a united Caribbean nation as the United States of America.

Do we need more of leisure things to glue together as a people? Yes, indeed! The message is loud and clear! The people came out in large numbers – the old, the young, the strong and the weak – to celebrate CPL the number cricket show in the Caribbean. Their team, the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots did not deliver as they expected but they came every time to support; they came to celebrate as a nation; and some came to forget their trouble and dance. The Patriots played 4 matches; lost three and won one – but they dance; they sang; and they cheered. And now, we wish that their Patriots would go and fight harder, and come back to them for the finals.

Remember, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13, NIV. We dream of the Caribbean nation; cricket makes us live out the emotional ties that make us one people! Thank you Warner Park; thank you, CPL!

 Peter Adrien is an author, business coach, financial counselor, economic adviser and columnist. Visit: www.goadriens.com. Contact him via email: peter@goadriens.com; phone: (869) 668-9752 (St Kitts & Nevis) or (305) 848-7604 (USA); twitter: @goadriens; facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Goadriens

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