Lloyd's Political Mistake

Date Published: 
Kaieteur News
Freddie Kissoon

The world knows about Clive Lloyd. His cricket history is elegant and admirable. Lloyd knows about cricket. But Lloyd thinks he knows about politics. And he has every right to think that he knows about politics because Lloyd once shared a good friendship with one of the Third World’s most astute and finessed thinkers and practitioners of politics, Guyanese Forbes Burnham.

It was Mr. Burnham who saved Lloyd’s career by paying his passage to come back to play for Guyana at a time when West Indies had discarded him.

But that is where Clive Lloyd went wrong. He may have transferred the brilliance of politics he saw under Burnham to the PPP Government in the 21st century. This was the tragic mistake Lloyd made. You don’t compare Burnham with any member of the present PPP Government.

If Lloyd ever entertained the thought in his head that President Jagdeo was like President Burnham and as a result he knows how Guyanese presidents think therefore he will work with Jagdeo, then Lloyd made the mistake of his life.

I resented the way Forbes Burnham used power. Mr. Burnham directed his venom personally to me in denying me and my wife the right to work in my country, all because I was rude to him. But let me take off the hat of a political activist and put on the hat of a trained social scientist. To compare Jagdeo (and Ramotar) with Forbes Burnham is scholarly depravity and mockery unfit for anyone who ever entered the halls of a university.

Mr. Burnham was intoxicated with power but he had class, urbaneness, an erudite mind, nationalist pride, and an undying appreciation for quality in humans and educational achievements.

When the Jagdeo Government employed Lloyd as a sports consultant, one suspected that Lloyd knew how powerful governments can be and how easy they can facilitate you. He had the Burnham experience to guide him. What Lloyd didn’t know is that governments come in all shades with all types of leaders.

My guess is that knowing that he wanted to head West Indian cricket, Lloyd felt his Government of Guyana job would be a stepping stone to the WICB presidency. What Lloyd did not know was that President Jagdeo was not a fan of the West Indies Cricket Board.

The very President stood outside the Providence Stadium with a placard calling the WI Board a disgrace. With him was Shiv Chanderpaul. Chanderpaul, knowing he had more years ahead of him in cricket than Jagdeo in the Guyana presidency, quickly backpedaled and apologized to the WI Board.

Lloyd thought he knew politics, but the Guyana Government had news for him. Soon after he took the consultancy work, the Government formed the IMC to displace the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) and asked Lloyd to head it. It was utterly foolish of Lloyd to have done that. But he was in a deadly trap and couldn’t get out.

Lloyd as an international cricket consultant knew the ICC’s position on politics intruding in cricket. The ICC had enough of that in Pakistan. From the time the IMC was formed, the WICB said it would not recognize it. It was now for Lloyd to learn a few things from politics. But he chose not to. Lloyd should have engineered a compromise. He didn’t. CARICOM came in and did just that.

Lloyd now had the opportunity to save his credibility when the Guyana Government, not Clive Lloyd, rejected the CARICOM covenant. Lloyd should have distanced himself from the intransigence. Instead, the IMC went on bulldozing its way all over the GCB, even padlocking the people’s offices and having the police search their homes.

All of this was done in the name of Clive Lloyd’s IMC. Speaking for myself, Lloyd disgraced himself and destroyed his credibility by those acts. Lloyd had to know that the GCB officials would have told their WICB counterparts about this semi-fascist bully-boy tactics.

Lloyd announced that the GCB was in contempt of court, meaning it was illegal, after it held its general elections.

Now this same Lloyd went to the front step of the GCB and begged them to nominate him for presidency of the WICB. Colin Croft had some harsh and comical words to say about this servility of Lloyd. For Clive Lloyd, one day the GCB is illegal, the next day he recognizes them. And his IMC is still alive.

Lloyd believes that the WICB wasn’t looking on at this circus in Guyana. After knowing that Lloyd could not get a seconder for his WICB ambition, the GCB nominated him, knowing he would fail.