Behind us is a weekend of great cricket played under brilliant sunshine. Cricket, lovely cricket! I was there, I saw the crowd, I saw the excitement, I was beating my chest proclaiming I was correct when I predicted that the magnificent 400 by Lara in Antigua would give the West Indies players the much needed confidence they needed.

    The West Indies team was in control from start to finish of the 2 one-day matches in St. Lucia. I believe that apart from W.I. team’s natural form at that point, it was the sheer endearment of the charming people of St Lucia that gave them the courage to stand up and give a grand performance.

   I recall on one occasion when the Mighty Sparrow visited Guyana for a performance at the National Cultural Centre, as he walked to the centre of the stage to commence his segment of the show, he observed the beauty of the auditorium and remarked that “Trinidad has oil but nothing like this, I am going to sing for all you tonight” I feel the West Indies team felt the same way when they saw the beauty of the Beausejour Cricket Ground and the felt the positive vibration from the crowd, they decided to play for the many fans to the best of their abilities. The combination of a great ground, fantastic people just brought together the vital ingredients to produce excellent performances.

   Was it the same in Barbados three days later? Did the English buy out most of the tickets and the W. I. Team did not have enough fans to cheer them on to victory? They left St. Lucia one up and ended in a draw. There was no reason for the W.I. team to lose the match in Barbados after exhibiting such excellent form in St. Lucia. Something must be done urgently to give the team the ability to win consistently. They must be able to win as a habit, not now and then. We must at least seem to want to win every time.

   The commentators were in high praise for the standard of the Beausejour facility, rating it time and time again as the best in the region. Such statement I am sure was music to many ears as we bid for the Cricket World Cup Series in 2007. I was certain that come July 4, 2004, St. Lucia would definitely have a stake in the series at the level we seek to achieve. I am so excited about the prospects about Cricket World Cup 2007 that I am praying that God will keep me alive and in health to be around to witness the execution of the programme that will make our participation in the series a reality. When we look at what Cricket and Jazz do for our economy then the rest is to your imagination. I don’t have words to describe what is in store for us. You may not want to believe me as I am usually referred to as an optimist but just pray like I do to be around in 2007.

   Two years ago talking with a dear friend over some good local rum, he said you know that St. Lucia will have a problem to accommodate the thousands who will want to visit St. Lucia during the Cricket World Cup 2007. He was very definite that St. Lucia will be a destination. He remarked that if he had money he would charter cruise ships to fill the void. Sometimes small people can really have big ideas. But I am also seeing a great opportunity for persons with extra bedrooms in their homes to host visitors and enter the bed and breakfast niche of the tourism industry. Maybe you will begin to feel I am dreaming but I am dead serious.

     Well, cricket is very much on the front burner, Jazz is in the air and once again it will be great Jazz as we celebrate our 13th year of hosting what has become one of the greatest parties on the planet. We get better every year and this year, the man we have waited for a long time will be here – Kenny G. The fringe shows are increased and now all the people of St. Lucia will be close to a venue where with or without money, they can enjoy sweet Jazz music. Over the past several years, the Tourist Board has been taking Jazz to the people and it is my take that the people are appreciative.

   While we were planning to really enjoy last weekend of cricket and then jazz this weekend, a major player in all that we planned to enjoy passed away. Death strikes in moments when in some cases we are forced to stop and wonder why? Mr. Desmond Skeete in his capacity as Chairman of the St. Lucia Tourist Board served his country well. I admired his cool style and felt honoured whenever I had to opportunity to meet with him. He had a style that many Executives should emulate. My deepest sympathy goes out to his family and relatives. May his soul rest in peace.

   Keep the faith – God is in charge!