Sir Hilary Beckles is in the news again. Not content with feeding off a rich legacy created by his role in the Mutual Affair, he continues to feel the need to assuage his insatiable ego for the bright lights. If one is to appraise Sir Hilary’s post-Mutual Affair performance many may suggest he has done well. BU believes he has been forced to be less controversial in recent years given his current role of begging the private sector for money. As Principal of the UWI, Cave Hill his primary role is to raise money to build out his vision for Cave Hill. We all know who control the money flow in Barbados and they will not want to listen to the commentary of a Hilary of the 90s.
During a recent presentation of the Sir Frank Worrell Memorial Lecture in St Kitts Sir Hilary provoked the wrath of Jamaicans – Barbadians seem to be getting good at it. Here is the extract from his speech which did the damage and eventually coerced an apology.
“What are the images we have of West Indies cricket and our heroes? Well, the images before us are as follows, that Frank Worrell is the Father of the Nation, ah, Sobers is the King of Cricket, ah, Clive Lloyd is the Statesman, ah, Richards is the General of the army, am, Brian Lara is the Prince, and Chris Gayle is the Don. And, and these these, these are very interesting images ah, in, in, in , indeed because the the movement from the father to the Don and, and and those who follow him and his cohort in the team do relate to him as their Don, and he has brought it is said, the Don-manship into how ‘tings’ operate in the team, and what the West Indies Board is trying to do at the moment is to uproot this Don-manship out of the culture in much the same way that the Jamaican people are trying to uproot Dudus from their politics. So the comparisons are very interesting indeed.”
It is interesting the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has subsequently issued a statement indicating that Sir Hilary spoke in a private capacity. Since when a Director of a Board (WICB) is given leave to speak publicly to any issues which fall within the purview of the Board? Sir Hilary’s excuse that he has academic license to speak to such matters is a weak one. This is why leadership is in crisis in Barbados and the Caribbean. Sir Hilary should have proffered his resignation as soon as he made the gaffe and let the WICB decide if to accept or reject it. To continue to occupy a seat on the WICB Board of Directors will only serve to leak oil on already trouble waters. A person of Sir Hilary’s station should have been aware of the insensitivity of the remark long before he made it although BU agrees with the statement. However given his positions as a WICB Director and Principal of the UWI, Cave Hill it was an asinine statement to make in the circumstances.
Sir Hilary has engineered a gaffe of colossal proportion, being an educator he should always grasp the opportunity to set an example for his students. The decent thing to do is to press home his apology with a resignation letter from the WICB Board of Directors.