INESTIMABLE PLEASURES SHORT OF BRAINS On Saturday, April 2, with an awe-inspiring and emotional outpouring of love and respect, this nation bade a grand farewell to one of its most illustrious sons. Winston Blake (‘The Merritone Music Maestro’) was not universally embraced for his connections with or contribution to Sport. However, with his undying love for his alma mater, Kingston College – a virtual hotbed for the games that teenagers play – he was a fixture at the National Stadium and before that, Sabina Park, during Champs week. Without fuss or fanfare, his unsolicited support took many young athletes over the hump. Politicians from both sides of the divide, by their presence, typified the life of the man whose earthly journey they had huddled together to celebrate. He will be sorely missed. Foster’s Fairplay wishes that he be granted eternal rest. English Cricket commentator and former County of Hampshire player, Mark Nicholas, has referred to the West Indies T20 team as “short of brains”. The remark came during the build-up to the recently concluded ICC T20 World Cup in that format of the game. Nicholas is described by the popular cricket website, espncricinfo, as “almost a throwback to the era of amateurs”. Anyone familiar with that period in English cricket, where there was a clear, social demarcation between two sets of cricketers, is wont to draw a single conclusion. Amateurs were referred to as gentlemen and those who looked to the game for their living were given the nomenclature of players. Given all that, the “no brains” label, coming from a white Englishman, must be seen as manifestly racist. That skipper Darren Sammy, mindful of, but not allowing the tag to disrupt his flow, could have led his team to a sound thrashing of the English, was a masterstroke. The clobbering, straight on the heels of a similar beating of the Aussies by our ladies, was a ”take that” response in the face of those who consider themselves to be ahead in quality of on-field performance. With those two title-winning victories and the still savoured under-19 triumph, the way forward is being charted by the loyal fans of the sport. They have stuck with a team whose fortunes have plummeted to rock bottom. Once ruling the roost in what is still considered to be the real cricket, they had been swept aside by teams who prepared, while the perennial high rankers remained complacent and perhaps, over-celebrated. It is quite understandable that this string of victories in a ‘slam bam, thank you, ma’am format’ has elicited shouts of “We are back”. Foster’s Fairplay urges caution. No one with a straight face can deny that there are inestimable pleasures to be derived from the shortest version of the game. The ending to the final provides stark evidence. In attacking an achievable target, the West Indies innings had fallen into serious disrepair. The strategy crafted by the ‘out of touch’ and in some quarters ‘out of favour’ Marlon Samuels was sheer brilliance. He curbed his well-known flair and ferocity to set up the Carlos Brathwaite explosion. It was the grand finale, all West Indians loyal to the cause could conceivably have wanted. It had all the ingredients of a Hollywood thriller. All that said, West Indies cricket has impacted and ruled the world from the springboard of Test cricket. That and only that must be the focal point in any perceived initiative to turn that never-ending corner. The treasures of watching and appreciating the grace, elegance and charm of a Lawrence Rowe, the ability to bludgeon into surrender a savage attack as Sir Vivian Richards afforded us, are no longer. Need one to further illustrate the point; go back to the mastery of a Sir Garfield Sobers or the finesse of the great Rohan Kanhai. Set in what is now being challenged – a five-day match – like it or not, together with fierce fast bowlers, the West Indies grabbed and held on to the number one spot for close to two decades. To this place all heads must be pointed if the call of “we are back” is to be countenanced. Go for it, West Indies!
Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan has challenged the world’s richest nations to toughen their laws against money laundering, tax havens and tax evasion if a global drive against corruption and illicit finance is to deliver results. The senior African diplomat last week Thursday told the Reuters there are two sides to illicit money laundering and financial crime.“There are two sides to this coin. If there were no facilitators on their side, the miscreants on our side would not have succored,” said Foreign Minister Ngafuan.“The G7 needs to walk the talk on this and deal with tax havens and opportunities created on their side of the divide that make it possible for those on the other side to loot the continent,” the Liberian Foreign Minister said. The former Liberian Finance Minister spoke at the G7 Summit in Washington last week.The United States and African nations agreed at their summit last week to set up a high-level working group to develop a plan of action to address the losses suffered by the African continent from illicit financial flows and corruption.Money leaving the continent from crime, corruption and other illicit means outstrips the amount of foreign development aid to Africa, causing mounting concern amongst African leaders who raise the issue with increasing frequency at international meetings.Global Financial Integrity, a Washington-based research group, estimates that Africa lost US$55.6 billion each year in the decade that ended 2011, the latest period for which data was available, with outflows from Sub-Saharan Africa growing at the rate of 20 percent annually.“Illicit financial flows are by far the most damaging economic problem facing Africa. By announcing the creation of the U.S.-Africa Partnership to Combat Illicit Finance, President Obama and African leaders have taken the first step towards tackling the most pernicious global development challenge of our time,” said GFI President Raymond Baker in a statement.Complex Taxes, Powerful LawyersNo details were immediately available regarding who would lead the new U.S.-African effort or how its work would be structured. The Group of Seven leading industrial nations, as part of a drive against dirty money and terrorist financing, already has committed to share tax information and develop registries of shell companies, which are frequently used to hide the transfer of illicit funds.Also under scrutiny are multinational corporations that use complex structures to reduce their profits in certain countries and lower their tax burdens.Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister Samura Kamara said in a separate interview that sometimes multinationals will form subsidiaries in joint partnership with governments and then load the subsidiary with debt, reducing any dividends the government had expected to receive.“The tax structures used by multinationals must be addressed,” he said, calling for greater transparency, particularly in the extractive industries.One issue discussed at the summit, Reuters report was providing developing countries with expert technical assistance to negotiate fair contracts on oil, gas and mining with multinationals who seek to exploit the natural resources in their countries.“It is important to get these contracts right,” Kamara said. “Everyone acknowledges today we lack capacity to negotiate with these international companies – they are so powerful, they have so many lawyers, so much expertise and creative accounting.”Jubilee USA Network, a coalition of religious groups fighting poverty, called the U.S.-Africa summit’s initiative to address illicit flows and corporate tax avoidance a step in the right direction.”We know the problem, we know how to track it, and we even know how to stop it. The working group needs to implement tracking and enforcement measures sooner than later. The drain on Africa’s resources is incredible,” said Eric LeCompte, Jubilee USA’s executive director.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
GAIRMSCOIL CHÚ ULADH is holding its 5k this Friday.There’s also a mile event for the less well trained!Registration is from 11am….a nice way to start the Easter holidays. GAIRMSCOIL CHÚ ULADH 5K THIS FRIDAY was last modified: April 8th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)