In today’s society power is to be coveted. Whether it is to be president of this country, president of a sports association or the head honcho of an organization, being the boss has its rewards.
In a country where people are afraid to speak out on the many injustices they face on a daily basis, the trampling of one’s rights and the total absence of fairness and equality continue to eat away at the very fabric of this society.
All of the above can be traced to the actions of people in power.
Being the boss gives one the authority to make decisions that affect people’s careers and people’s lives oftentimes completely ignoring whether the decisions being made are wrong.
In Guyana, people fear losing what they have and are sometimes threatened (indirectly) that if they do not do what those in power and authority want them to do then they run the risk of losing what they have, be it their jobs, their businesses or their places on sports and other teams.
So, what happens? Right becomes wrong, innocent people are found guilty, persons deserving of promotion are bypassed and sportsmen and women deserving of being chosen are omitted.
In short, the fundamental rights of persons are being sacrificed on the alter of expediency.
Of course there are always plausible reasons why certain decisions are made and, in some cases, those in authority can indulge in blatant double standards suggesting one action for one group of persons but not for another.
The major reasons for these malpractices lie in the individuals within whom the power reside and the fact that there are not enough persons willing and, or able, to fight for the oppressed in today’s society.
The battle between right and wrong, good against evil, is being lost.
A culture has been formed where individuals form cliques in an effort to gain strength and exert pressure on those who dare to challenge and to defend those whose rights are being trampled upon.
That is why in today’s society the “soups drinkers” and the “suckers’ up” and those who can wheel and deal, who have access to friends in high places, are the ones that get ahead.
Those that stand up for their rights and the rights of others are labelled “bad” and are shunted aside, ignored in the decision making process of organizations and in opportunities for advancement.
The preferred option is to go along quietly with what is happening, refraining from commenting.
While the above sentiments hold true for what happens in some sections of our society, Sport is no exception.
One of the most amazing phenomenon in local sports today is the longevity of a number of association presidents who seem to be able to satisfy the electorate that they are doing a good job (even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary) and that they should remain in office.
The reasons for those persons remaining in office obviously lie in the voting mechanisms in place whereby the ones with the votes are also the ones in power and to vote a president out of office would be to vote themselves out as well thereby bringing an end to all the perks and privileges that there might be.
A close look at some of those associations would show that there has been practically no development over the last decade with most associations unable to send national teams to attend Caribbean and other regional meets without assistance from government which, in most instances, is few and far between.
There are no programmes locally to help our athletes develop, very little facilities and no money pumped into local sports which would improve standards and help to make representative national teams more competitive.
The major problem affecting sportsmen and women in Guyana (apart from those power-hungry presidents whose only aim is to climb the ladders of regional and international sporting organizations for what benefits there might be) is one of finance.
There is never enough money for sports teams to even depart those shores much less prepare properly for competitions.
One of the benefits of Sir Allen Stanford’s involvement in cricket in the region was the amount of money he pumped into the sport.
National Twenty20 teams were given money to prepare properly for the Stanford Twenty20 tournaments, which of course were broadcast to the world, but the point here is that teams need money to prepare properly.
Another problem is the shortsightedness and obvious selfishness of sports officials some of whom seem more interested in getting media exposure rather than doing anything worthwhile for sports.
These officials often blatantly lobby media houses to help promote their selfish causes and in most instances, mystifyingly they get it.
Recently a physically challenged athlete was chosen to attend an international tournament but failed to go because of —- you guessed it —- a lack of funds.
The question to be asked here is what exactly is the government doing for sports in Guyana?
On another note, the head of a local association recently said that because there were no international engagements this year the association was not going to appoint a technical director.
Well! Well! One would have though that this would have been the proper time to appoint a technical director who would have had a period where there were no international matches so that he/she could get on with the job of restructuring the discipline in that organization.
So, while sports officials cling to power, sports countinue to stagnate.
In is no wonder that sportsmen and other individuals in this society view this country as one with no hope, and certainly no future.
At least not for our children, but maybe, nay certainly, for the soup drinkers and for those in power.