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Racial dotishness

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
PM dismisses critics of Sachin’s name on Brian Lara Academy
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley arrives at a function marking the recommissioning of the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension yesterday. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has dismissed as “racial dotishness” critics who suggested the reason for inviting Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar to last week’s opening of the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, as well as naming a luxury suite at the facility in his name, was for the purpose of sanitising the beleaguered facility.

The furore brought about by the idea, which was put forward by former West Indies icon Lara, who is a close friend of Tendulkar, caused a furore which is believed to have influenced Tendulkar not to attend the opening.

“Notwithstanding its troubled history, the world has seen the opening of the latest stadium in cricket and in the not too distant future international games would be played there,” the PM said at the sod turning ceremony for the re-commissioning of the highway from San Fernando to Point Fortin yesterday.

He said the idea of having the stadium named after two legendary cricketers was to make it a show piece in the cricket world and use it as a business venture so Government could promote sports tourism.

He took aim at those he said did everything possible to ensure last Friday’s opening was a failure to the extent of staging a protest outside the nearby Couva Children’s Hospital to press for that to be opened instead of the stadium.

“Today, I want to congratulate all those who came to the BLS to demonstrate that we are not all foolish in T&T,” the PM said.

“We talk about sport tourism. We can have very little sport tourism in T&T of any size because we are a very small country of 1.3 million people. Any serious attempt to get involved in sport tourism, we are talking about external and the world outside.”

Rowley said when Lara suggested he wanted to use Tendulkar’s name on the academy, “it wasn’t because as our ridiculous friends say in the opposition, that we wanted to use Sachin Tendulkar’s name to sanitise any project. Brian Lara wanted to open to the world, an academy where Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar would have been the show piece in the world of cricket.”

He explained that the academy is going to be part of a sport tourism and business venture.

“We are looking for business outside and Sachin Tendulkar’s association with it would have exposed us to the largest cricket market in India. But in T&T that matters not, all that matters is racial dotishness, because some people in this country cannot avoid including race in their discussion in every single thing they do.”

He added: “We heard the dog whistle and heard the racial talk and at the end of the day the stadium is opened, it’s the Brian Lara Academy and Gary Sobers told me it is one of the best stadiums in the region. We need no sanitisation. “

Rowley said young people from T&T and the region will also be able to develop their careers at this facility.

He said the project, started under the Patrick Manning administration, was abandoned by the Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration due to inflated estimates which ranged from between $180 million to $250 million. But he boasted that the facility was completed under his Government within budget and time at a cost of under $90m.


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