By Russell WilliamsI recently read a piece on the BBC website on how former West Indies Captain and batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan blamed the West Indies coaching setup for his poor form and eventual departure from West Indies cricket in 2010. The batsman went on to say how the coaching staff confused him, belittled his efforts and that he was the subject of public criticism and so on.
A couple years later Sarwan has been selected by Leicestershire as their overseas player, and after only a matter of weeks he’s already hit two centuries and two fifties. Now, before you too begin to get confused and question why you’re reading about cricket in what’s supposed to be a business article, all will become clear.
Having read of Sarwan’s almost immediate transformation in form and outlook, I couldn’t help wonder and reflect on whether the same management culture and dysfunctional organisational behaviour evident in West Indies cricket, is also wide spread in the private, public and educational sectors. Let’s face it I’m sure we can all think of at least one person we know who having been frustrated, hamstrung or even undermined has left their home country in the region only to flourish in the UK, US, Canada or frankly anywhere but the Caribbean?! And to whose benefit?
One has to question how it is that with all the very highly educated and qualified people we have in the region that we’re not much further along in terms of development.
Some people appear to be professional or perennial students, two minutes after graduating with a Masters, they’re off again to pursue their doctorate. I am fairly certain we don’t have the statistics to refute my belief that the Caribbean has more graduates per capita than anywhere else on the planet, because despite all this education, we haven’t yet learned the value of capturing and analysing data.
So assuming it is not because we lack qualified and educated people, why are we lagging so far behind?
One has to wonder whether the systems or institutions that exist in the region are themselves flawed. Why else are talented and creative people often alienated and undermined to the point of frustration only to move onto that green and pleasant land?
Clearly, the predicament that Sarwan now finds himself in – able to enjoy his work and produce results while being able to earn a living and keep the wolf from the door in a foreign land, is not a unique situation or one confined to cricket.
The question is how much is it costing us, not only immediately in dollars and cents, but into the future, due to the lost talent? Not only the current brain and skills drain, but future generations. Remember it’s difficult to be what you don’t see.
People will migrate that’s inevitable, however, if talented people are effectively driven out who will remain to be the role models for future generations?
Our youths need to see successful individuals at all levels – farmers, contractors, brokers, teachers, businessmen and women – we can’t talk about wanting young people to enter into farming, entrepreneurship or any industry if all our youth see are these people catching their tail or boarding the next American or British Airways flight out!