Sunday Brew — April 7, 2019

Sunday, April 07, 2019

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News that one-time West Indies coach Phil Simmons revealed that former Cricket West Indies President Whycliffe Cameron and his deputy, Emmanuel Nanthan interfered with the selection process while he was coach is not surprising.

In one example given on Trinidad & Tobago radio i95 last week, Simmons, who settled out of court to a wrongful dismissal claim which cost Cricket West Indies over US$670,000 in damages and legal fees, described how Nanthan and Cameron went about foisting Shivnarine Chanderpaul on the selectors after they had not chosen him for a West Indies match, and how Nanthan spoke down to him and legend Courtney Walsh, while Cameron instructed him to include Chanderpaul, who, according to Simmons, he was putting on a plane to turn up at the match.

Then there was the revelation too that Cameron told him that he could not pick certain players, including Dwayne Bravo and Keiron Pollard, because they had walked past him and said nothing and had no manners; while one of Cameron's disciples, chairman of selectors Courtney Browne made all the final decisions and the captain and coach didn't matter.

When I first saw Nanthan and heard him speak, I asked myself ... is this man an idiot? The answer to that today is obvious to me.

Cameron, too, is someone that I thought contributed to the demise of West Indies cricket and it was time that the region ended the agony by voting him out. Can you imagine him saying that someone had no manners? Didn't he look in the mirror?

The CWI president, nor its directors, cannot interfere in team selection. That is sacred ground. It is the board, however, which ratifies the captain when the selectors make their recommendation. Do we believe that much more of that didn't happen under Cameron's leadership? Guess again.

There is so much information that is already emerging in regard to the administration of West Indies cricket. There is more to come ... and the region will be in shock when that happens.

Bunting should replace Phillips; Robinson's time up too

If the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) does not get the clear message now, it never will. The party's slap in the face defeat in Portland Eastern by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) should be a clear indication that the leadership approach of party President Dr Peter Phillips has failed and the organisation needs new blood at the top.

To compound Dr Phillips' problem, he has a general secretary, Julian Robinson, who still does not understand the job and does him no good as a leader. Let's look at the recent by-election.

The JLP's Daryl Vaz is a genius of an organiser. Vaz's modern-day approach to campaigning, in tandem with his social media colleagues, which included Matthew Samuda, showed up the PNP's campaigning-in-thepast approach led by Maxine Henry-Wilson, and which was spearheaded by veterans Dr Paul Robertson and Dr Vin Lawrence.

The fact that Damion Crawford secured the most votes by a PNP candidate in an election in that constituency is irrelevant. The party lost a 'safe' seat that it won by over 2,200 votes three years.

The PNP spent over $137 million campaigning among its six vice-presidential candidates in the internal election to decide four meaningless positions last year, yet could only find a quarter of that to fight the enemy. Shameful! The party made a bad decision in 2006 to make Portia Simpson Miller its president. That decision set the organisation back by 10 years.

That was the time for someone like Phillips to have taken over. Instead Phillips, a brilliant man and one of the finest public servants you can find anywhere, is over a decade too late as a party leader.

Although the polls are not always right, like in the case of this recent by-election, it would be foolhardy to ignore them, and the numbers have shown that Phillips is way down the order in terms of the people that Jamaicans want to lead them. The PNP cannot ignore that forever.

It is time for the party to be led by someone with a strong business head, background and understanding of the political landscape. Peter Bunting is that man. The sooner the party coalesces around him, the better it is for its members.

Bunting has always done things the hard way, won tough seats like Clarendon South Eastern (the only man to beat former Prime Minister Hugh Shearer), and Manchester Central.

He, like Phillips, is brilliant. But importantly, Bunting understands what is required to appeal to an electorate that increasingly wants to be preached to by way of social media in particular. That is what the PNP and its ancient day leadership now lacks.

Kingston College and a tonic named Dave Myrie

I attended one high school, so I would not be in a position to say that Kingston College is the best Jamaican institution of secondary learning.

But based upon the many achievements of the now 2,000-boy institution with campuses at Upper Elletson Road and North Street in the heart of central Kingston, it would be difficult to deny the school which has been bred in the purple, according to horse racing parlance, as one of the top performing in Jamaica. KC was formed on April 16, 1925.

The exciting historical information from a personal perspective is that my uncle, Frank, who like my father worked in the sugar industry for several years, was the second boy, he insisted (others say the third), to have walked through the gates of the school when it opened on that April 16 morning.

The many achievements in academic work, sports, the arts and other fields make it the envy of many similar institutions in the Western Hemisphere. KC's latest purple patch in winning the Manning Cup schoolboy football title, the Under 16 football crown, the national debating competition, the Boys title at 'Champs' and narrowly missing out on the Schools' Challenge crown, being beaten by a more talented St Jago High, all in one school year, is remarkable.

The many achievements in such a short space of time have, in large measure, to do with the sound leadership of Principal Dave Myrie, a British-born, no-nonsense educator who has confirmed himself as the right tonic for the largest all-boys school in the English-speaking Caribbean.

When Myrie arrived at KC, my son Andre was about to enter lower sixth form. He said to me “Daddy, this man is a serious man. Every boy respects him. He is reasonable and he is going to turn the school around.”

He has. KC's academic performance, with 89 per cent of 11th graders passing five or more subjects, is amazing in a school formed to primarily accommodate underprivileged boys.

Of course, as passionate as they are about their school, and as high as their collective temperate can rise at times, the old boys make a remarkable difference in the fortunes of the school.

There are hundreds who look out for the institution and do what they can, but Florida-based octogenarian Audley Hewett stands out among all of us as a shining example of what benevolence means. People usually say that KC men are cult-like.

I always say to women that when you see a man who loves his school so much, give him a try, because most, if not all of that love and commitment, will rub off on you.

On another note, I hope it's not true, but I hear that a group of women are planning to file a class action suit against KC for not allowing them to attend the school, thereby denying them the right to a sound education. Like I said, I hope it's false.

Let's not crucify Calabar the institution

TO say that Calabar High School, the great institution of learning founded by the Baptists in 1912 for the children of Baptist ministers and poor black boys, is under pressure would be the understatement of the century.

If the 'passa passa' involving star athletes Dejour Russell and Chris Taylor and physics teacher Sanjaye Shaw was bad enough, the chanting of students at the school's assembly, hurling derogatory remarks at great rivals Kingston College was even worse.

I suppose every man has a rear end, so the term used was true in part, though I suspect from the videos on dangerous social media that that was not the intended verbal message being conveyed.

As a Kingston College graduate who is unashamedly heterosexual, the green knife did not shed any purple blood to even make me turn my head. The boys at worship were clearly misguided and, from the video, it appeared that the acting principal and teachers were not in a position to control the raging bulls. But boys will be boys, and some boys these days are so terrible that they may be deemed irredeemable.

For some of us though to suggest so many derogatory things about Calabar's history and contribution to Jamaican life is taking matters too far. The misguided few should not be used to wipe away the structures that so many Calabar boys have built over the years in the development of Jamaica, the Caribbean, North America, and Europe in particular.

As a KC man, some of my closest friends are Calabar Old Boys, who have condemned how some of their own have behaved. We have a close bond, and while we jive each other and don't want the other to beat us in competition because of the preservation of bragging rights, we love each other in the way that one man could love another and remain a true man.

People like Dr Orville Palmer, PJ Patterson, Derrick Smith, Dr Donald Phillibert, Audley Boyd, Dr Bill Aiken, Kevin Savage, Dr Trevor Tulloch, Nehemiah Perry and Jason McKay, for example, are among the thousands across the globe who have done their bit to make the world a better place.

Let's not allow a handful to gnaw away at the gains made by these men and so many others. Calabar obviously requires creative leadership. Let that be the priority of those who can make that happen.


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