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T&T diplomat promotes cricket in Cuba
The possibility of a T&T representative cricket team playing in Cuba for the first time may soon be a reality. This after T&T’s Ambassador to Cuba Jennifer Jones-Kernahan paid a recent courtesy call on president of the T&T Cricket Board Azim Bassarath at his office at the National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva. Ambassador Jones-Kernahan said that though the sport cannot match the popularity of baseball, cricket is immensely popular in Cuba and is supported by the government.
She said the town of Guantanamo, better known for the US military base on the island is also a focus of cricket activities ranging from school level to organised competitions which are continuing to attract more participants. More than eight months ago the T&T diplomatic representative said she formed the Ambassador’s Club comprising colleagues from the Caribbean and other countries where the game is popular like India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Great Britain and also including non-resident ambassadors of Australia and New Zealand. She said the effort also involved and received great support from the Cuban institute of Sport who has recognised that cricket continues to live in the hearts of descendants of West Indians who travelled to Cuba to work and live.
She said a measure of the importance that cricket is being treated in Cuba is the fact that a representative side from the Cuba Institute of Sport recently made a successful tour of St Vincent and the Grenadines. “Cricket in Cuba is on the upswing. Our objective is to support and promote the sport, to provide information, technical support and equipment and in this regard has solicited the help of the T&TCB,” said the ambassador. She said that during her conversation with T&TCB president Bassarath, she mentioned that cricket as a tool to create greater integration between Cuba and T&T was first initiated by wellknown economist Dr Lloyd Best, now deceased.
Ambassador Jones-Kernahan said in 1999 Dr Best had submitted a proposal for a cricket project to officials in Guantanamo and also provided support and assistance in the form of equipment, gear and information and is well-respected there because of this sport initiative. She said the process of social integration will continue when she returns to her posting in Havana when together with the Cuba institute of Sport, will host a national tournament on September 26, 27 and 28 involving at least nine teams competing in ten-over matches.