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No need for another cricket academy.

Dr. Keith Rowley doesn't care about cricket, he cares about votes and to him, cricket is a lot of votes. The mere fact that the Brian Lara Cricket Academy is not being used for its original purpose is proof of our priorities being all wrong, despite costing nearly three times its original allocation. If Dr. Rowley wanted to improve infrastructure for nurturing cricketing talent, why not invest in the grounds around Trinidad and Tobago that already exist?

Not everybody can reach Trincity. Every cricket season, from all the different zones, Premiership one come down to Division one, teams and players complain about grounds not having pavilions, non-functional floodlights, not getting the grass cut by various corporations, non sponsorship of teams, can't even get the keys to the toilets if there is a pavilion, to put down a turf wicket and acquire tarpaulin covers is hell since one gets a run arounds from the corporations.

Then, the best places to nurture young talent are in the primary and secondary schools. I've raised a recurring habit of secondary schools importing players from 'non prestige' schools to play for them, why? Because most of them being government secondary schools are starved of proper sporting infrastructure and programs and there are more than enough space and administrators to run it and enough students to participate. So the best leave, and these schools play in the SSCL with 10 and less players, boys and girls.

Take for example QRC, which is the government's prestige school. It took close to seven years for the auspicious assembly hall to be repaired, the main building is forever leaking due to rain. They have struggled for years to get their cricket nets repaired, housing iguanas and squirrels, cricketers had to play with recycled football jerseys. Right now, footballers use the prefab classrooms as dressing rooms because the pavilion next door is a cowshed. Curry Qs and BBQs as fundraisers are a norm across sports disciplines to raise funds to hire a bus driver, purchase cases of water and a playing kit (jersey alone). For years, QRC has had endless fetes and fundraisers and it only affords a few buckets of blue paint and a dozen sheets of ply board.

Therefore, I am appealing to the Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley, to invest that energy and effort for private-public sector partnerships in government secondary schools. I am appealing to Reliance Industries and local investors to adopt a school (QRC one if many), maybe adopt a community team and evenly distribute their wealth to them. In so doing, the whole of Trinidad and Tobago becomes a cricket academy and the cricket mecca of the Caribbean.

Kendell Karan
Chaguanas


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