Letters to the Editor

Jamaica Tallawahs or Florida Tallawahs?

Friday, August 24, 2018

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Dear Editor,

I think, I speak for many Jamaicans when I say the decision by Florida-based businessman Kris Persaud to have Jamaica Tallawahs play their last three home games of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in Florida is one of the most contentious in recent history.

The move has left thousands of Jamaicans feeling disrespected.

The record shows that the Tallawahs are two from two at Kingston's Sabina Park and zero from three at the Central Broward Regional Park in Florida this season. The record shows that the Tallawahs are one from six at that ground overall.

The record will show that Sabina Park is one of the most storied cricket grounds in the region, and that it generally carries one of the largest crowds for CPL games. The record will show that the Tallawahs have strong support in Jamaica with a sold out and literally bouncing Sabina venue on numerous occasions.

On Saturday, Tallawahs captain Andre Russell said he was not happy with the decision to stage designated home games away from Sabina, after the team's first loss of the season to Guyana Amazon Warriors in Florida.

Russell's argument was that the team's supporters were vastly outnumbered by those of their opponents at that venue. During the match against the Warriors every wicket we lost was followed by thunderous applause from the crowd. Is that what a home crowd does?

During the game against Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) the Jamaican fans were again dwarfed by their TKR counterparts.

I suppose the idea is that there are many Jamaicans in the diaspora living in Fort Lauderdale and its environs. But clearly that backfired. And if the principals of the Jamaican franchise felt the need to give US-based Tallawahs fans a taste of the action, why not limit that apparent experimental move to a game or two and allow Sabina Park to host the majority of the home games?

I listened to Radio Jamaica's Beyond the Headlines on Wednesday and heard Tallawahs Chief Executive Officer Jeff Miller complaining that the team gets little support from the country. A very disingenuous statement, I believe.

Host Dionne Jackson Miller, in making reference to crowd support, asked also if sponsorship was an issue and the CEO, in no uncertain terms, said 'yes'. According to him, the team is getting no support from the Jamaican Government. While sponsorship is, I believe, a private sector matter, support from Jamaica is unwavering.

My questions to Mr Miller are:

1. What exactly do you require of the Jamaican Government?

2. Are you getting any support from the United States Government?

3. What support are you getting from the state of Florida?

4. What support was received from the crowd in Florida?

5. Are you now seeing the error in that decision?

Mr Miller, it was the Jamaican Government that spent millions of US dollars upgrading Sabina Park ahead of the Cricket World Cup in 2007 in order to better facilitate world-class cricket.

It was the Jamaican Government that orchestrated the installation of lights at Sabina Park in order to facilitate CPL night games, among other events.

It is the Jamaican people who spend their money on tickets to watch their Tallawahs excel in the unmatched atmosphere at Sabina Park.

If you reckon support from Jamaica is limited, what is the rationale behind moving the team to a ground virtually bereft of their beloved fans?

As it now stands, people are referring to the team as the Florida Tallawahs.

Avid Tallawahs fan

Kingston 6

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