By Basil Springer

"Microsoft makes annual MVP awards to its Most Valuable Professionals. Slavomir Furman a developer/architect with Deutsche Telecom from Slovakia, Central Europe has been an MVP since 2003. In an interview published in the Microsoft MVP Insider Archive, Furman was asked What is your motto?‚ His response was - It is a quote by Muhammad Ali: Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill. I believe that this really says that everyone is unique and has a gift which may be given to others. Those gifts of helping each other and letting our talents become apparent and useful for all is worth more than anything else. What is really important is what is deeply inside us, not what is around us."

To quote the late Prime Minister of Jamaica Michael Manley, cricket is the most completely regional activity undertaken by the people of Caricom. It is also the most successful cooperative endeavour and as such is a constant reminder to a people of otherwise wayward insularity of the value of collaboration'. These comments were made, as Clive Lloyd has observed in the Gordon Brooks book of cricket photography Caught in Action', while Manley reflected on a fascinating period that saw the regional team enjoy a euphoric state of domination in international cricket from the mid 1970s, when they beat India in a test series in India and won the first world cup in England. This was followed by a 5-1 defeat in Australia against the odds but the team never looked back after that experience. The domination continued through the 1980s and early 1990s, but this was followed by a steady decline from the mid 1990s to a period of transition at the dawn of the twenty first century.

The recent historical event, when the West Indies team won the ICC Champions Trophy in England, we all hope signals a new era of West Indies cricket which will once again be in harmony with Manley's statement. Listening to the Press Conference at Grantley Adams airport shortly after the arrival of the West Indies team in Barbados there was a feeling that a threshold had been crossed, that there was a good chance of building a cricket team', indeed it was a very exciting experience.

Certainly the consistent performances in this most recent competition seem to reveal that the will was now matching the skill and must have exceeded it to give the results that overnight has inspired us in every nook and cranny' in the Caribbean. The imminent advent of a new coach, and I do not think we should get too emotional as to whether he is foreign or not, will hopefully not only herald a new era of physical fitness but above all will motivate the team to have that will to win.

The cricket team's success was a major stimulus to those faced with the challenge to rebuild Grenada. As the plan for the new Grenada evolves, I am sure that there will be no shortage of skills willing to give their support to the rebuilding exercise, but the ultimate success will be the will of the Grenadians to go that extra mile and create a new country of which future generations will be proud. A great team effort will be required at the international, national, industry and family levels.

Another challenge facing the Caribbean in the light of trade liberalisation and globalisation is to develop sunrise industries which will be at the foundation of the restructured Caribbean economies. One such sunrise industry, which has significant potential for impacting poverty reduction, is the vertically integrated cotton company Exclusive Cottons of the Caribbean Inc.'. This is an example of a smart partnership between the public and private sectors with which I was involved over the last eighteen months. Through the Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc., I have played the role of Coordinator to get the company incorporated and off the ground. The management team is now evolving and I must now move on in search of another dawn and sunrise. The success of this project too, like the West Indian team and the rebuilding of Grenada, will depend on the relationship between the skill and the will. We must remember the words of Muhammad Ali: but the will must be stronger than the skill'.

We must always remember that the purpose of life is manifested by our relationship with God, our willingness to help others and identifying those gifts in us that are unique and use them for the benefit of mankind. Teamwork is the answer, as we convert our visions into actions.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. (CBET) -