Letters: Could Lara Lead the UNC?

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Dear Editor,
If humans and cricket still exist in one hundred years’ time, you can rest assured that Brian Lara will still be discussed as one of the greatest batsmen to have ever graced the field.
Anybody who has ever had the opportunity to witness his play, whether at the stadium or on television, can tell you that his masterful stance, footwork and technique helped inspire and shape the way most batsmen approach the game today.
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But just as I can surely guarantee the preservation of his legacy as a batsman will endure past all of our lives on this mortal coil, the same can’t be said of his experience as the captain of the West Indies team.
While he did find more success in the One Day Internationals, his record as captain of the Test side was poor to abysmal based on who you ask, but more than that, is that while his batting appeared to be a last hoorah for the glory days of West Indian cricket, the string of losses he ushered in as captain would mark the decline of West Indies’ performance as a team, from which it has yet to recover.
So while comparing Brian Lara to Kamla Persad-Bissessar might be an interesting prospect to consider for those interested in the leadership of the UNC, while most people have been using this experiment to analyse Mrs Persad Bissessar, I think we lose a little bit of context by not considering what Brian Lara returning to lead the West Indies cricket might actually mean. Because it is actually weird to think that Brian Lara hasn’t been handed a leadership role on the West Indies post-retirement or any team for that matter. And I’m obviously not talking about a player/captain. But considering that there is a healthy industry for players in managerial and support roles for teams after they’ve walked off the field of play, it is telling that Brian Lara does not seem interested in having any part of the West Indies development for well over a decade.
And this all leads back to my initial comments about him being a great player, but not necessarily a good captain, because he has always been most interested in self-promotion. Which isn’t necessarily a bad personality for a star athlete in a competitive sport to have. But looking back to the fateful game in which he broke the world batting record for the second time by scoring 400 runs in a single innings, it was commented on almost immediately that this was a record that might stand forever because no captain would ever allow a player the amount of time needed to break it, if it meant costing the team a win.
Of course, Brian Lara didn’t have any such restriction because he was his own captain and therefore put his own ego above that of the team. As such, while West Indian fans across the region celebrated the reclamation of the record for Brian Lara, these festivities overshadowed the larger fact that the team had  lost the series to England three-nil, and gave up the chance to register a single victory in the final game just so their captain can reclaim his personal glory.
You know, during the course of writing this it occurred to me that while listing the deficiencies of Brian Lara as a captain, how well Kamla might have done in the role if she had the chance. Because while she might not have had the skills necessary to excel at the game at the same level as Brian Lara, leadership is a skill that is transferable from one profession to another once a high enough proficiency is attained. And I want to make one final distinction here, which is key to understanding why Kamla Persad-Bissessar is one of the best leaders we have ever had, because there is a difference between a good manager and a good leader that many don’t understand.
Anyone can learn management skills and be good at it, because it usually comes down to statistics, logistics and running a tight ship.
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Once you stick to the key mandates and directives required to perform the operations at optimum capacity you are a good manager. But a good leader is someone with vision to challenge norms when they think that they can improve systems, and is someone who can see the potential in a thing or an individual when everyone else would overlook it.

That is what makes Kamla Persar-Bissessar an exceptional leader, and this is why the UNC has grown from strength to strength and victory to victory under her tenure.
And the reason that so many are interested in leadership of the UNC today rather than five years ago is because of how much the UNC has grown over that time to the point where a victory in the General Election is all but assured, hence why everyone is eager to be at the helm when it is achieved.
It’s funny, but whenever the conversation of whether Kamla should remain as leader of the UNC comes up, her critics always cite either her perceived losses in various elections or her appointments to certain positions, but never once do they concede her many victories on both points throughout her long and illustrious career.
The fact that so many people have remained, and are returning to the UNC shows that there is far greater approval for the decisions she has been making as leader of the party than those who disagree.
Unlike the sport of cricket, a skill which is perishable over time, leadership is gained through experience which only becomes more valuable as time rolls on.
That so many people still have faith in the UNC and Kamla Persad Bissessar to be victorious at the polls, as she only recently proved is possible, is a testament to her invaluable abilities as the Political Leader, and any one opposing her ought to boast similar attributes. Until such a time and a person presents themselves however, I maintain that the only person capable of leading the UNC back into government in 2025 is Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her All-Star Team who have been on a winning streak that doesn’t seem to be coming to an end anytime soon.
Ravi Balgobin Maharaj


One thought on “Letters: Could Lara Lead the UNC?

  1. Lara when asked about the inability to win as a captain and the poor batting averages, he opined that the decline really began under sir Viv. He did not start it and he certainly could not stop it.

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