It is with great disappointment bordering on disgust that I put pen to paper in the hope that something is done about the issues I wish to highlight to the public. Having been invited to the TTCB 50th Anniversary Celebrations I felt obligated to attend as I have played with or against many of the awardees at some time during my playing days for Queen’s Park Cricket Club, as well as the couple of games in which I represented the red white and black. These men were more than just colleagues as I consider many of them my friends. I duly attended the anniversary celebrations and started looking through the programme and I was shocked by what I saw, not by the awardees who were selected, but by the glaring and blatant exclusions that were not. Despite the talk that the selection of some of the awardees was politically motivated and that some were friends of the current TTCB administration, I would like to congratulate each and every one of them as they were deserved winners, notably the late Ralph Gosein, Orville London, Alloy Lequay and Lance Murray.
However, what was totally inexcusable in my opinion was the exclusion of my father, A E “Sonny” Murray. He was one of the most hard-working and finest cricket administrators ever to pass through this country. He unfortunately passed away last year at the age of 94. He dedicated his entire life to the sport of cricket as a player, manager and an administrator, sometimes even at the expense of his family life, and I feel obligated to stand up for what I believe is right and fight for my father’s name and reputation. If I don’t fight for it, who will? My father’s unquestionable dedication speaks for itself as he was secretary to the Trinidad Cricket Council for over 20 years. As part of his duties in this position was the responsibility for organising all West Indies Test matches here in Trinidad. In those days two Test matches were played at the Queen’s Park Oval and of course there were no computers and other high-tech machines to print tickets, etc. As secretary he was responsible for overseeing all local cricket fixtures and whatever other secretarial duties were involved.
He also served as president of the Secondary Schools Cricket League for over ten years and under his presidency, the first Indian school team visited T&T in 1982. Two years later, and again under his tenure as president, a T&T Secondary Schools team, under the captaincy of Brian Lara, visited India for the first time. He also served as president of the Primary Schools Cricket League for five years and as president of the Women’s Cricket Board a further six years. If that wasn’t enough, he was also the manager of the Trinidad and Tobago National Cricket Squad and an executive member of the Trinidad Umpires Council for over 15 years. These positions were held at different times during his career as an administrator of the sport, ensuring that the various elements of cricket were well served. Something that he was very proud of and considered himself honoured was when Antigua hosted its first Test match in 1981. He was asked by the Antigua Cricket Association (ACA) to personally go to Antigua, all expenses paid, to direct them in operating a Test match and to set up a system for operating future Test matches as he was considered the head of the field in the West Indies at the time. Sonny had spent the week leading up to the Test and the days of the Test ensuring that every detail was taken care of and the ACA staged a successful match.
Considering his exclusion, I made enquires as to the composition of the committee who selected the awardees thinking perhaps they were too young to appreciate what my father had done for the sport of cricket in this country. To my horror and disgust, however, many members of the committee had served on various boards with my father for many years and in almost every single case he was their senior and served longer. I can only hope that his exclusion was neither an act of malice nor vindictiveness on the part of the current TTCB administration. What about other administrators like Rambhai Patel, Ronald Cape, Isaac Ramoutar, Jeffrey Stollmeyer and Lutchminarine Jaggernauth who were not honoured? Each of these four men have served the sport of cricket in one capacity or another for a combined total of at least 150 years.
The current TTCB administration has now come under extreme criticism for their handling of the awards and its selection of awardees and of appearing to show bias towards their “friends”. As I stated earlier, I feel an obligation to fight for my father’s name, but these issues go way beyond that and I am minded to believe that someone would have written a letter highlighting these problems eventually. Instead of the current administration of the TTCB trying to unite a fragmented cricketing community amongst all administrators and administrations within the country for the good of the sport of cricket, we find walls instead of bridges. They should hold their heads in shame for trying to run cricket as a personal business.