FIRE IN BABYLONTuesday 12th April 2011
Speech presented by WICB Vice President Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron at the premier of the Fire In Babylon movie and Digicel Series 2011 launch in Kingston Jamaica on Saturday evening last.
Cricket ignites the passion of our people. These islands are separated by water but joined in spirit. That unity is expressed through West Indies cricket.
Fire In Babylon is not just a movie. It is a seminal work which documents one of the greatest sporting stories in human history. A story of how a little, seemingly insignificant part of the world conquered all for an unprecedented and incomparable period. There have been great teams in sport – none greater than the West Indies cricket team of the late 1970s to the 1990s.
That team is a phenom. It was an all-conquering juggernaut. Tonight we celebrate the lives of the great champions who played in that team, we celebrate success, we celebrate ourselves because we are all West Indians
And so it cannot be lost upon us that this evening is one of significant historical importance.
It would have been nice to announce that Fire In Babylon will serve as a catalyst for the resurgence of West Indies cricket. I am pleased to say that West Indies Cricket is in a season of change, the resurgence is on. The West Indies Cricket Board has already put some critical elements in place and continue to lay the foundation for future success. The decisions may not always be popular but are necessary.
The transformation will not be overnight but we are already seeing positive signs. We have thousands of kids excited about cricket at the grassroots levels through initiatives sponsored by Digicel and Scotiabank.
We have realised what some had called an ‘elusive dream’ – the Sagicor High Performance Center in Barbados which is a refining school for our elite cricketers as well as the introduction of the Combined Campuses and Colleges to the first class setup. To list all the initiatives would be to bore you with details.
I must pause though to thank and commend Digicel and Scotiabank for being stalwarts in sponsoring West Indies cricket and for investing in the future of the Caribbean.
And I commend too Charles Steel and John Battsek for their perseverance in producing this movie. The WICB, from the very inception, embraced the project and made sure that every door was open for the film to be realised given its historical importance.
I realise that you may listen to me speak and sense that I have a strange excitement about West Indies cricket. You may think back to a few weeks ago when we exited the World Cup and you may be confused. Let me assure you that West Indies cricket is at the cusp of a resurgence.
We have not yet seen the consistency in performance on the field but we are confident that it will come. Here’s a poignant story – the World Cup was just won by India. Does anyone recall how India did in the 2007 World Cup? They did not even make it out of the group stage.
To win the next World Cup we need to start now. The WICB is committed to development, progress and success and sometimes the process requires difficult decisions to be made.
Fire In Babylon will be part of that process.
The WICB will ensure that all the players who play for the West Indies view this epic film so that it can help to open their minds and their hearts to what West Indies cricket means to the people of Caribbean. It is just not a sport, it will never be ok to just go out there and “see what will happen”.
Cricket is how we establish ourselves on the world stage and how we find international pride and relevance as a people.
On the field of play our players must give all, leave nothing behind. We at the WICB must support them and provide the environment for success. The players must demonstrate that “all or nothing attitude” which you will see much of in Fire In Babylon.
Something is happening in West Indies cricket, we are working with diligence behind the scenes to ensure success. We will conquer the world again.
Do enjoy the premier of what is one of the greatest movies of Caribbean history. And we will make history once again and more movies will have to be made when we do.
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