Bridgetown (Barbados), Sep 22 (IANS) University of the West Indies (UWI) vice-chancellor Hilary Beckles believes it was critical for key institutions like UWI and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to respond quickly to the ongoing crisis in Dominica.
The two institutions have collaborated to stage the Dominica Relief celebrity charity game at Kensington Oval here on Saturday and Beckles said both he and WICB president Dave Cameron thought the fund-raising fixture was the right thing to do under the circumstances, reports CMC.
Dominica was last month devastated by the passage of tropical storm Erika which killed over 30 people and left over $200 million infrastructural damage.
“We sat over dinner and worked through the details and these two institutions came together to do the right thing which is to assist our people in their hour of need,” Beckles said.
“You would have heard from Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and he argued that in his judgement, the development agenda of his country has been set back 20 years. This is a very serious realisation. The people of Dominica since their independence have worked very hard and diligently to build a nation. Nation building in the Caribbean is always a fragile process and Dominica have done well.”
The game will be played between the WICB President’s XI and the UWI Vice-Chancellor’s Celebrity XI and will feature the likes of legendary batsman Brian Lara, ex-Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke, who is Trinidadian, and newly appointed Test captain Jason Holder.
Beckles urged the Caribbean to give their moral and financial support to the embattled nation as it seeks to recover from the tragedy.
“The devastation of the infrastructure of the country, the devastation to family homes, communities, places of business, schools – all the institutions that constitute a nation – have been severely damaged and have crippled the normal operations of the nation of Dominica,” he said.
“This requires a concerted effort and all of us in the world, who envision to see Dominica back on its feet again, functioning with the normal resilience the people of Dominica displayed over the decades (would support this initiative).”
WICB chief executive Michael Muirhead said the partnership between WICB and UWI was significant in reiterating the importance of regional unity.
“It is not uncommon for West Indians to come together in times of adversity and support one of (their) own, especially when tragedy has befallen them. Neither it is uncommon for WICB and UWI to collaborate especially where cricket is involved, although this time the focus is different and cricket is the by-product,” Muirhead said.
“Both WICB and UWI are seen as the last bastions of regionalism, representing fiercely independent nations seeking to reinforce their independence across the world but cognizant of the fact that in unity lies strength.”
Proceeds from the game will go towards the Dominica Relief fund.