What’s in a Name?
The unwarranted comparisons between Chris Gayle and ‘Dudus’ Coke, Worrell and Sammy, betray where Beckles’ loyalties lie and his analysis of West Indies cricket begins. The problem is compounded by where he situates himself and who he represents. The tenuous foundation on which he builds dooms the structure. In placing Sammy as captain, he seeks to do for Sammy what CLR.James did for Worrell. From there he made the comparison. James because of his writings and political analysis is credited with the ascension of Worrell to the captaincy of WI. Of course, Worrell was eminently qualified. After the success, James in a plea to rest Worrell asked, “After Frank Worrell, what?” Beckles in his recent plea to retain Sammy, asked, “After Sammy, then what? Then who?” There is no mistake here. Beckles fancies himself in the same shoes as James: a kingmaker. Beckles places himself in the same historical place as CLR James. But the more he builds the further away he leans. There are a number of problems with that position. First, Sammy is no Worrell by any stretch of the imagination. Not many can claim to be like Worrell. And second, Beckles is no James.
The WICB is under a lot of pressure from Caribbean people who are trying to affect a result. A failure to win any test match on this tour of England must mean the end of its current core administrators and perhaps the whole thing. This Beckles-James comparison became clear while doing unrelated research. I found a startling similarity between Beckles’ title and that of CLR James. There is similarity in form, even in substance, but the meaning, the impact is radically different. I’ll try to show why.
In 1960 James had successfully campaigned for Worrell’s captaincy then decided to campaign for Conrad Hunte to replace Worrell on the subsequent tour to England. Worrell had stated he was no longer physically up to the task. James sought to protect Worrell from further disability and wrote an article where he reasoned that Worrell had already proven his worth and that Hunte or somebody should take over. That prompted the never published article, “After Frank Worrell, What?” But he said much more. In that article, James is trying to protect one player while giving another an opportunity.
Beckles, likely, intended to use James’ style and felt that Caribbean people would have read James’ articles and be able to identify the reference. I am embarrassed to admit, but I had not read James’ article. I understand, it had never been published. I was not aware at the time of reading Beckles’ article that he was using a direct reference to James. In fact, I have not read as much of James as we all should. So this came as a genuine surprise to me. .
In James’ time there were no blogs and chat rooms. We depended on writers like CLR James to capture the ethos of the region and its feelings about cricket. I have always resisted quoting James. I felt it was too easy and that we needed to describe the ethos in our own way. I have no choice now. Today we have writers who are members of the WICB and writing to explain the WICB’s philosophy while attempting to shape a new Caribbean ethos. James is quoted freely, but without the same intent. From Beckles’ recent, Cricket, Cash and Country, we learned that West Indies players are paid on par with the rest of the cricketing world. Why then are our best players in the Indian Professional League (IPL) and not with our West Indies Team. He explained they go to the IPL to earn more money. He described them as mercenaries. Evidently, our players are different from the other players in the IPL. This is a very different position from the one James occupied in 1960.
Now, we have chat rooms and a virtual ‘Rum Shop’ to publicize our views and the news is everywhere. We are no longer as dependent on the Beckles’ as we were on the James’. The establishment has never had a shortage of its views. They owned the newspapers. Arguably, there is less need for CLR James, on cricket. Today, Beckles continues to write because the WICB needs to persuade the public that, as Beckles wrote of our players, “We fear that they will become minstrels to more and more money; entertainers without interest in the nation that produces them; cash chasers who are cavalier with the legacy of excellence they have inherited from earlier stars.” (The emphasis is mine).
Part of the plan to create this new ethos is to soften Worrell, Walcott and James and all the others who resisted. Worrell’s activism is ignored and James writings are selectively quoted. If you are paying a competitive salary and your players are leaving then there has to be something else wrong. What good is a Board that pays a competitive salary but cannot retain its players? Or one that would not pay more to retain its best players. Or one that does not hear the voices of the people it claims to represent.
This Is Not a New Problem
James addressed the same issues back in 1960. In that same article. James used Roy Marshall as the example. Marshall was an aggressively stylish batsman though not good enough to hold a steady place in a stellar WI team of the 50s and 60s. But he settled in England and captained Somerset from 1966 to 1970. Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack described him as a batsman who would make players’ wives drop their knitting. James felt that, like Marshall, the West Indies would lose it best players to England and Australia. Australian clubs wanted Sobers, Kanhai and Hall and especially after their exploits on that Worrell led tour of 1960. James delivered a stunning critique that is just as appropriate today. James was referring to a review of Clyde Walcott’s book, Island Cricketers, published in his paper, The Nation. His words mirror the words of many senior players today. James said,
“No one should mistake the moderation of the tone and the obvious desire not to give offense and thereby believe that the three Ws do not bitterly feel the injustice and humiliation to which they have been subjected by the attitude of the Board towards them and the captaincy of the west indies. This is not lost on the younger players. And before very long we shall see some of our finest cricketers abandon League cricket as Marshall has done and Ramadhin tried to do,” He added,
“That it is not clear on the horizon today, it will be clearer tomorrow. Who will blame them for thus letting WI cricket see after itself? You who could have done so much have done very little. You stand accused of deliberately contrived to deprive some of them of honours which in any other country under the sun would have been theirs.” (Quoted from a typed manuscript any misspellings and missed capitalizations are as they appear in the original unpublished document)
It appears Beckles had not read the entire piece. He ignored James’ position as well as Walcott’s condemnation, though he used a spin-off from the article's title. James wrote about the injustice and humiliation suffered by Worrell, Weekes and Walcott. Instead, Beckles chastises the players. Beckles in his piece bemoans the seeming reluctance of greater government involvement in both rhetoric and concrete steps to retain regional players. James covered that too in the same piece. James described as ‘a first class blunder’ the government of Trinidad and Tobago appointing a committee headed by Learie Constantine, Minister of Works and Transport to look into returning and keeping ‘our boys at home’. James was not against the idea. On the contrary, he was against the government’s involvement, not the idea, because it meant the people of the Caribbean were not involved in the process. It was an undemocratic process.
|C.L.R. James' unpublished manuscript, After Frank |
Worrell, what? C.L.R. James Papers,
Columbia Univ. Library. 1961
Today our boys and girls are in much the same construct but with arguably less democracy and more insecurity. Caribbean countries and colonies today reveal an umbilical connection to the empire that is perhaps fresher than any previous time. A global insecurity has created less democratic process in the region. Nowhere is it more apparent than in the narco-traffic sweeping the region and in the region’s response. In the last twenty years there has been as many treaties and memoranda signed between regional governments and the US for cooperation on security. There is so much cooperation that regional police departments are headed by Americans, Canadians and Englishmen. An American would have been running the Guyanese security set-up, Bernard Kerik, had he not been jailed.
The security arrangements for the developed nations and the Caribbean have merged. Now there is little distinction between the jurisdictional borders separating these countries. So much so, that US forces can employ Jamaican security forces to rendition a Jamaican national, from within its sovereign border to face pending charges in the US. I am talking about the notorious Chris ‘Dudus’ Coke. Eighty people, a disputed number, were killed in the operation to arrest Dudus Coke. An inquiry followed but no justice for the families. Jamaica is not alone. Guyanese fugitive from American Justice and alleged kingpin, Roger Khan, was renditioned from Surinam to Trinidad and then to the US to face charges. Over four hundred is said to have died during the period of Khan’s reign in Georgetown. All this is with the silence of regional governments. This is not a commentary on the deeds of Dudus Coke or Khan. We needed both behind bars. It’s the methods used, because we, all of us, are subject to those same methods. The DEA has an office in Trinidad and wants to build one in Guyana. The drone over Kingston that assisted in the Tivoli ‘massacre’, as described in The New Yorker, to find Dudus Coke was operated by US Border Patrol. The border is extended but not the constitution.This is the situation we are living under: one of high crime, abused rights and brutality. As if that is not enough, we are watched from on-high.
Unbelievably, statistics confirm that Whites commit more drug crimes including drug use and drug distribution than African Americans. Yet, 60 percent of the national prison population is of African descent and for drug related offenses. How then does one explain this imbalance? There is only one inescapable reason for such a result: racism. Yet, White males with police experience from these developed societies are permitted to administer security policy in the Caribbean. There are 2 million prisoners in the US. This appears to be our goal. Police personnel in the Caribbean are just as willing to abuse rights.
Simultaneously, there is constant traffic between these developed countries and the Caribbean. The people of the region, a significant percentage reside outside the region, travel back and forth. They bring concepts of culture and practice that are mutually integrated in both societies. A growing percentage of the 60 percent of African descendants in US jails is of Caribbean origin and a greater number are being returned to the Caribbean after serving their sentences. This brings an additional set of social problems. But it is not lost on the youth of all these societies that they are living in a racist construct where their lives as African descendants are valued less. There is nothing mentioned by regional leaders about this disparity. They treat this phenomenon as though it is something foreign, if not, non-existent. The insecurity attaches to every aspect of our relations including our jobs. Cricketers are no different. The police forces are as brutal as any in the US, if not more so. Phantom groups do freelance problem solving and are not constrained by whatever little police protocol remain.
Scarce resources find their way into fighting criminals but not fighting crime. The latter requires a more holistic approach by providing better and more facilities for our children. Our cricketers therefore could be compared to ‘dons’ but couldn’t find a venue in their neighborhood to hone their skills. Burgeoning urban populations cover the open spaces we once played. If you make it to the next level few opportunities exist. England once employed some of our cricketers in its leagues. That has dried up. So, now Indian corporations offer an opportunity and that is somehow seen as different. Youngsters look at the unmerited rise of Sammy and shake their heads.
It’s not about the Money
Everyone, James in particular, is saying that the lure is not just about the money it’s about what is going on politically, socially and not going on with the Board. The Walcott book was reviewed in The Nation with excerpts that revealed Walcott’s mistreatment by the Board. They refused to pay him to play because he was receiving a salary for his work in Guyana. Walcott retired early from WI cricket at 34.
|Sir Clyde Walcott|
Beckles thinks he is saying the same thing as James and in many
respects it is true. But what you say has a different meaning depending on where you stand. He doesn’t see that the very thing he chastises James embraces. First in the order is the player. James was a one man lobby in the interest and service of the players. He suggested a new captain in Hunte to help save the career of another, Worrell. Beckles seeks to destroy the careers of several captains in furtherance of his own. He wanted to root out Gayle and Chanderpaul and Sarwan: the seniors. It’s an important difference in the angle. James says they are boys leaving for money, but that the Board contributed significantly. Beckles says the players are greedy and we are losing our brand, our cricketing brand: not the best choice of words. His solution is to get rid of them completely.
Despite Beckles' claim that our players are paid on par with other players, our players leave. Beckles and James say we cannot afford our best players. Both say we cannot afford to lose them. But while Beckles excludes and attacks the player and their absence. James prolongs their presence and attacks the Board. Beckles laments the net loss is greater in social costs. Much have been written about senior player Sarwan, it’s worth mentioning that he did not go to the IPL and was picked up by Leicester but only after being discarded by the WICB.
WI’s much reported decline predated the IPL. To blame the IPL for the current state of affairs is just the usual disingenuous behavior. James highlighted an earlier version. Our reduced goodwill means we tour England in cold spring rather than the more comfortable summer. Digicel needs to step up and pay the players properly. This is the reason for all the increased number of strikes. It has always been the reason. WICB must now publish the relative salaries Beckles claim are on par with players around the world. Then the WICB must publish its own salaries and expense reports. There we’ll find the reasons. If the Board had the flexibility and the players’ interest at heart they would have seen the IPL as an opportunity to expand the ‘brand’.
The WICB and the Caribbean is not the Same.
Beckles writes as though there is some convergence between the WICB and the people of the Caribbean when using words like West Indian brand. This is not the case. It has never been the case. One need only look at its racist, classist, history to understand that. Caribbean people cannot be, or could not have been, part of an organization that they had no official authority or mechanism to change. This is contrary to our history: like a slave identifying with the caretakers of the slave system. Then after revolting against the system they find themselves still excluded from the decision making process, that claims to be representative. The WICB is like the UN Security Council: everyone else has veto power except the majority sitting in the larger general body. A larger body goes to do a job and a smaller body dictates policy. We have no say. It’s the most undemocratic of bodies. Yet theoretically, Caribbean people ought to have the most say.
|British Soldiers land in Guyana (British Guiana) 1953|
This discord is reflected in the numerous strikes and near strikes by the players throughout the post war period. Add to that the numerous bottle -throwing incidents and other game stoppages. None of these incidents were random. They may have been sparked by something on the field. This issue was adequately covered in an anthology edited by Dr. Beckles, himself, and in which he contributed, Liberation Cricket: West Indies Cricket Culture. In that volume, Richard D.E. Burton in Cricket, Carnival and Street Culture in the Caribbean noted a number of crowd disturbances. In 1953 the British invaded Guyana, suspended its constitution, and jailed its leaders fighting for real independence. That same year England toured as the MCC. In return the Guyanese invaded the field with missiles of their own. It was the first self-described Marxist government in the Western Hemisphere, multi-racial, and six years ahead of Castro’s stunning success. Burton suggests that the game acts as a forum, on and off the field, to channel anger and discontent. From time to time, something happens in the game that releases that anger. At Bourda it was the run out of Clifford McWatt. Later, the forces of reaction managed to split the movement and Guyana remained mired in racial strife since.
|Bottles rain at Bourda, Georgetown 1953|
Burton listed the bottle throwing incident at Port of Spain in 1960 as the next notable incident. They were still mad at the WICB handling of the Worrell and the White captains’ fiasco. James was in the thick of the debate writing for The Nation.The Constantine led committee on cricket was also supposed to investigate the bottle throwing incident at Queen’s Park Oval. James called the committee a blunder. There were no more White captains after that incident. Cuba had happened by then. The West Indies Federation was struggling to survive. Independence was on the horizon.
In March 1968, Sabina Park in Jamaica hosted a similar incident. Teargas was used. It was firmly rooted in Jamaican and regional discontent, and world political turmoil. The Black Power Movement in the US, the fight against the Vietnam War, the visit to Jamaica of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1966, and of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967, Kings assassination and the anti-working class policies and policing of Prime Minister Hugh Shearer all would have contributed. Walter Rodney had returned to Jamaica a few months before the Sabina Park riot. More teargas followed his subsequent expulsion in October 1968 for allegedly preaching violent overthrow. It sparked the real rebellion that had been simmering and in the process brought forth a new Caribbean and cricket that Lloyd and Richards would feed on.
Another much ignored incident in March 1979, again at Bourda, West Indies against Australia, World Series Cricket, saw a splintered West Indies team. Like it is now, we had two sets of players. Some were playing for the WICB(C) and our best players playing for Kerry Packer. Packer’s World Series Cricket was the IPL of its day except that teams played in the names of their nations rather than the private clubs of the IPL. Already incensed by the unfolding divisions between players and the Board and impatience with delays in the start of the game, the crowd erupted. Teargas was used and players retreated to the pavilion wearing helmets and carrying bats for protection. They need not have worried; players were not the target of the anger. The game restarted a day later.
Often missed, and I believe an important period, was the socio political situation in Guyana. The ruling PNC under Forbes Burnham began to consolidate control through a philosophy of ‘party paramountcy’ and had held a referendum in 1978 wherein the public supposedly voted in favor of party paramountcy and reduced freedoms. The Working People’s Alliance, led by Walter Rodney, began to openly challenge these developments and held public meetings across the country. One of its young activists, Ohene Koama, would be killed in November 1979 by a faction of local police called the ‘Death Squad’. This squad had been terrorizing citizens for some time. It’s in this volatile mix that riot became a way of expressing discontent.
This informal spontaneous public protest was the only avenue available to influence the power brokers inside and outside of cricket. It had worked with reasonable success in other arenas. The incidents at Bourda, Queens Park Oval, and Sabina all stemmed seemingly from actions on the field. But a careful look at what was going on off the field revealed the true reason for discontent may lie elsewhere: Injustice and inequality. These actions did lead to some changes in the politics of the region and the administration of cricket, but still today no mechanism exists to incorporate the people’s view on the issues affecting cricket. Further the social conditions that generated the discontent of that earlier period were never fully addressed and today conditions, much the same, remain. The changes that came affected every aspect of our lives including our culture. Our dance and music and all expression reflected a new knowledge. It has not created the fundamental change that would allow input from ordinary members of the public into any of the regional institutions.
The WICB has historically been the slowest regional institution to recognize these warnings and make changes. This is, perhaps, because of its years of overt racist and classist selection process. But it’s a problem facing all international sport run by bodies based in Europe with the help of local affiliates and with little or no input from the people they claim to represent. I use ‘regional’ with the WICB guardedly. I have said elsewhere these are undemocratic and tyrannical bodies. So to lament the loss of ‘mercenary’ cricketers to the IPL and similar earning opportunities is to not understand this fundamental relationship: and to ignore history.
|UWI Students Break Through Cordon and Flee |
Police and Teargas Kingston, 1968
It was never any different even under Lloyd and Richards. That’s why they could have left for Packer. Their refusal to leave for apartheid South Africa had more to do with Dr. Rodney, Dr. King, Malcolm X, Mandela and Biko and that came from a worldwide consciousness rather than with the WICB and any regional nationalism. And therefore it is disingenuous to make claims against the current players, accusing them of selling out, when their interest were never, and is not now, a priority. The WICB and its acolytes have publicly expressed their desire for a team without the senior players. 'Senior' is just a code word for independent thinking and self-emancipated. They are not the sellouts here. It does however speak volumes about the achievements of Lloyd, Richards, Worrell, Kanhai and others. With the help of James we now understand what they had to endure in order to achieve the heights they did. Of course, there was a sense of personal achievement and pride in performance. Of course success came with a certain recognition and status in one’s community. Of course, they were able to parlay that into increased earnings away from the West Indies. Of course, racial exclusion created a determination to do well against those who excluded you. This they would have done for all of us because they knew most had no access to power or outlet to express dissatisfaction.
But they always knew were the WICB’s interest was located and it was not with the players or the people of the region. This is why Packer and even the despicable South Africa ‘rebel’ chapter were possible and now the IPL. They were no more or no less committed to this mythic regional unity, organized under a European umbrella, than the players of today. James spoke about that too. At the time it was the MCC that controlled cricket and he noted that it was a private club far from the Caribbean and undemocratic. Today, it’s the ICC. It used to be the Imperial Cricket Council. ‘Imperial’ has been changed to ‘International’.
If you are not yet convinced, note the sweatbands that Richards wore around his wrists. It was not the maroon of the team’s colors. It was not even the colors of Antigua and Barbuda. It was the Red, Gold and Green. Beckles and the WICB claimed that as some kind of recognition of regional nationalism. That would be its narrowest construction. The colors that grew out of the Rastafari Movement meant way more than regional nationalism, if that. It meant a worldwide nationalism a movement of Jah People: the enlightened. If Bob Marley had to explain it he would have used the concept of One Love. Some among us have argued that One Love is a watered down version of the meaning of Rasta: that Rasta is Black Power. I believe Marley saw a more inclusive vision of Jah People.
It was not regional nationalism that drove West Indies performance. No other sport has seen any sustained regional unification. It was rooted in a global struggle for equal rights and justice. The talk of Caribbean unity is not unlike the seasonal political campaigns using whatever common identity, like race, ethnicity, class, and now geography, to rally support. Worrell would have been the same captain wherever he played. Our players played for teams and clubs all over the world and thrilled those crowds too. He was Caribbean without doubt. Like cricket, the notion of West Indian unity as explained by Federation rhetoric was a European construct. They would have meant political unity because we had already been united by history, by culture. A difference of opinion is not the absence of unity. This has nothing to do with whether federation or its progeny Caricom and CSME is good or workable idea. But to fail to understand who ruled cricket and who governs now would be a disservice of epic proportions. With Federation as with cricket the desire was centralized power which made it more accessible and manageable by benefactors in Europe.
Punishing Chris Gayle was not only important to the WICB. Once you are compared to Dudus Coke, you can then be mistreated. Some will remain silent. The ICC remained silent because it was important to them too. The WI player strike of 2009 threatened them too as did all previous strikes: any player action. The IPL regardless of our personal views on its excesses presents a potential threat to the ICC. The ICC need not worry because the powers behind the IPL are keyed into the world of capital and would not seek to isolate itself from more capital and markets by attacking the ICC. That was why the IPL was so quick to comply with the ICC by not picking Gayle even as he sat at home unemployed. They ignored Gayle in the auction. Now they hail his greatness. They contacted him only after they were certain the WICB had no use for him. They steadfastly adhered to the requirement for an NOC (No Objecttion Clause) as set by the ICC and only the WICB could issue. Though it has the financial wherewithal to ignore the ICC, the IPL is afraid that the ICC could tap into the might of the western political power and isolate IPL money. The ICC wields the power.
It’s Time for our Voices to be Heard Again.
Caribbean people are supposed to be content with the representatives from the local boards who serve on the regional board. This is not sufficient. These are representatives from local clubs and they move to the regional body and form a larger club. These are private organizations. As in the recent case of Guyana’s Interim Management Committee (IMC), any deviation from the rules would be met with swift retribution: exclusion. Justice Chang in Guyana made a mess of the facts but correctly identified the problem in that government’s move to intervene. These are private clubs. I also believe the actions of the IMC in Guyana were misguided. They are no different from the Sir Learie Constantine committee James addressed as a 'first class blunder'. Undemocratic and ill equipped as a result. Undemocratic means the absence of the people not the presence of elections. Justice Chang came close to identifying this recalcitrant, non-responsiveness of the existing framework.
Usually an election for each club selects a representative to the county and from the county’s elections to the national body from the national body to the WICB and from there to the ICC. The higher you go the less power you wield. Whatever minimal influence Caribbean people have on local clubs, it is nonexistent with the WICB and in the minus with the ICC. This is an insufficient platform for the WICB to claim itself a regional body. There is only an appearance of unity and democracy.
|Rodney Addresses Crowd in Guyana|
Similarly, citizens of a country select a President or Prime Minister in a national election who then represents the country or sends a representative to Caricom. There is very little direct input into Caricom from the people, thereafter. As far as we know, it’s not overseen by a body sitting in Europe. This is only slightly more democratic than the autocratic WICB. But the concept is the same. Unity or the appearance of unity is used to negate the public voice not facilitate it. In Guyana the recent cricket board elections were apparently held without representatives from at least one region: Berbice. This did not void the election because a quorum had been reached. Evidently Berbice sought to register some protest by not participating. They were sadly mistaken because the constitution handed them by the ICC only required a quorum and that was met. It was this exclusivity and its impatience with protest that the IMC unwisely sought to resolve by unceremoniously removing the Guyana Cricket Board.
Beckles has a tough row to hoe with Sammy. Worrell was popular with fans and foes alike. The political climate of that time supported the long awaited rise of African descendants in the society and the captaincy was a visible manifestation of that desire. People were fully aware of the Board’s attempts to deny Worrell the captaincy and resented it, publicly. So his ascension was welcome. No such set of facts existed for Sammy.
This is a grave miscalculation on Beckles’ part and the few others who support that position. The first miscalculation is Sammy’s level of skill. Since the ascension of Worrell and every African or Indian captain that followed, all had the skill to command a place in the team and that was evident before their ascension to the role. There must have still been some political jockeying. But the eventual winner could hold is head high. Sammy as a choice for Captain really calls into question the cricketing knowledge of those who supported such an idea. This is the second miscalculation. It was evident he did not have the level of skill required to sustain a place in the team and not with all the players available. It is possible they saw that, as did almost everyone, but felt that he would improve. To do that they had to exile the senior players. However much he improves as is possible; the damage would already have been done. This was the third miscalculation: to choose someone for such an important spot and hope that he improves in skill as a player and as captain. Sammy had had no stellar first class career.
For Sammy, after 16 games with no obvious signs of improvement, apologists talk and write about the team turning the proverbial corner. There is going to be no redemption here. There is no record to base this ideological truth that Sammy is supposed to represent: this special understanding of the history of West Indies cricket. Viewing “Fire in Babylon” does not create this notion of legacy. One has to face the real fire and perform: win.
Unlike Worrell and Lloyd, Sammy has not risen to the occasion. A recent century against England at Trent Bridge may quiet some. But it cannot erase what the WICB attempted here.The way in which he was elevated will forever hang on him even if an unlikely renaissance resulted. What this reveals is not so much a gigantic political blunder, but a gigantic cricketing blunder. It reveals a lack of understanding of the game itself an inability to identify players for roles. Instead, reasons other than skill are used. In short, it’s an inability to administer cricket, itself. No other industry would tolerate such a result. It isn't that it doesn't happen. Racist and political favoritism happens all the time. But it undermines the strength of the unity you claim to want.The blame must be placed on the shoulders of the WICB and its spokesperson: Beckles.
Unlike Beckles, James was not a Director on the WICB. He held no board position with Sagicor and its subsidiaries. He came from a different place. With not even a college degree to cloud his mind, he could see clearly the sentiment of the people. If West Indian pride was the main criteria for picking a captain, I might be your man. Beckles may be the man. But that is not the case. You have to have the highest level of skill: or get their quickly. James knew that. Worrell had been playing at test level for more than a decade. Then there was the movement for self-determination for colonial peoples around the world. James’ opinions were rooted in that movement. Ask Prime Minister Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a student leader in the 1968 Rodney protest in Jamaica, and who volunteered to resolve the current cracks between the players, the people of the region and the WICB. Being James requires that at a minimum. Now as the masses begin to stir again around the world, Beckles is on the other side: the side of the one percent couched in some elusive notion of nationalism. He is no James.