Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 4th 2015 Contents 14 UWI TODAY – SUNDAY 4TH OCTOBER, 2015
Three years ago, when franchise cricket was introduced
to the Caribbean, it provoked a considerable amount of
disquiet at many levels. It disturbed ideas of loyalty and
patriotism. It questioned inequitable distributions of
strengths. It resurrected unresolved issues within the region
about the dominance of big over small islands, and for the
millionth time, people vacillated between nationalism and
regionalism. It was a bumpy start.
How would you level this playing field?
Although on the surface it seemed like a wide range of
issues, it all seemed to come down to questions surrounding
identity. Am I West Indian? What does it mean to be West
Indian? Who am I?
In June, Professor Gerard Hutchinson raised the spectre
of the end of the West Indies as he discussed the dilemmas
of identity in this “age of branding.” (http://sta.uwi.edu/
“Cricket and the UWI have been touted as the last
remaining symbols of regional unity but the title West Indies
may now be anachronistic, given the current preferred
generic referencing of the region as the Caribbean,” he noted.
For a West Indian identity struggling to keep its head
afloat even in its own Caribbean waters, the idea of forming
franchise teams bearing national names but composed of
players scattered across the globe was unpalatable to many.
“It just felt downright weird,” said one woman as she
reflected on how her feelings had changed since 2012
when the Caribbean Premier League T20 tournament was
launched (the first edition was held in 2013). But in 2015 she
looked forward to it, and the things she had found unnatural
then, seem like the best aspect now.
The six inaugural teams reflected the global nature
of franchise cricket. They bore national names, but their
composition was primarily West Indian with international
players in the mix. It was indeed weird. For the 2015 edition,
while the T&T Red Steel’s 15-member squad featured seven
Trinis and three Bajans, of the Barbados Trident’s 16, six
were Trinis and six Bajans. How did one pitch support?
Nationalistic grounds didn’t seem to hold water.
Things have changed since that first year when Kieron
Pollard, a pillar of the Trinidad and Tobago team, was
named captain of the Barbados Tridents. It was like the old
flying fish bacchanal. It was unfair to Trinis to have their
T20 star poached and it was an affront to Bajans to have a
Trini foisted on them. There were protests against Pollard’s
selection, a former minister of social transformation, saying,
“I have a great difficulty with a Trinidadian captaining
the Barbados franchise in the upcoming CPL. They have
retained the name Barbados, so I believe a Barbadian like
[Dwayne] Smith or [Fidel] Edwards should be captain. I feel
it is fundamentally and psychologically wrong. It affects the
psyche of some Barbadians.”
Samuel Badree, a player from Trinidad and Tobago,
thought it went against the spirit of the tournament. “I
think the names should not be that of the countries. They
need to come up with something creative. To have (Kieron)
Pollard (of Trinidad) playing for Barbados and calling the
team Barbados does not make sense and won’t reflect what
they are trying to achieve with the CPL.”
Bringing the knowledge and experience of years of
international cricket to the table, Sir Gary Sobers stepped
up, saying he believed the franchise system would help
strengthen West Indian bonds.
“If Pollard is playing for Barbados and he is the captain,
I don’t see anything wrong with it,” he was quoted as saying
in the Bajan press. “If it was like the inter-territorial games
[in the past] and he was playing for Barbados, well then he
became a Barbadian because he was playing for Barbados
and that is a similar thing that is happening right now. I
don’t see the big argument about it and all the fuss that is
Chris Gayle, captain of the Jamaica Tallawahs, shows his support for both sides at the final match between the T&T Red Steel and the Barbados
Tridents in the 2015 edition. PHOTOS: CPL T20 LTD.
UWI TODAY editor, Vaneisa Baksh, explores the recent
Caribbean Premier League tournament’s contribution to the region.
It didn’t end then. In the second year, the T&T
Minister of Sport was so incensed at the export of players
he considered key to T&T’s success (like Sunil Narine), he
refused to permit the Red Steel team to be branded as a
national one, saying it was an issue of sovereignty. Captain
Dwayne Bravo was already out on the field for the toss
against the Barbados Tridents in Grenada when he was told
he no longer represented a T&T team.
“I was shocked and I thought it was a joke but I was
told so officially,” he said.
The T&T brand was returned to the Red Steel team after
other ministerial interventions, but questions of identity and
loyalty remained close to the surface even as they seemed
to have gone under the skin.
As the games played out, a number of elements
combined to assuage fears and misgivings. Interest, then
support began to grow.
What was it that people discerned that made them shift
in their seats?
It wasn’t one thing. It was about twenty.
First, as if to underscore the dead zone in which the
West Indies Cricket Board operates, the tournament was
launched with a thoughtful and robust marketing strategy
that was well communicated. That kind of promotional hype
had only previously been matched in the region by Allen
Stanford. It has never even been imagined by the WICB.
Even so, the opening matches did not draw crowds; and
for a time, it seemed this too would go the WICB way. Then
momentum came riding in like a drama queen.
The tournament’s structure, drawing on the experience
of former West Indies players as mentors and coaches,
added an indefinable touch of class. It showed respect and
appreciation for them; and it was an important element
because at every match, no matter how deep the party mood,
their presence was a visible reminder of the magnificent
heritage of West Indies cricket.
A Flag for the Islands
SUNDAY 4TH OCTOBER, 2015 – UWI TODAY 11
In June 2012 I was in Charlotteville, Tobago with several
friends and colleagues carrying out research on land snails
and reptiles. We were spending a lot of our time walking
forest trails and searching for any interesting animals, which
involved raking through leaf litter, rolling over rotting logs
and generally delving into all sorts of nooks and crannies.
One trail in particular, heading north past Pirate’s Bay,
provided many good sites for study as it was a mix of forest
and agricultural land. It was on this path that I made my
I was looking at a large fallen tree, which had been
slowly rotting away, and noticed several tiny creatures in
amongst some soil and bark. I knew they were some sort of
myriapod (an arthropod with a long body and multiple pairs
of legs) but beyond that I wasn’t sure if they were millipedes
or centipedes. I collected a few specimens to take back to
our base for a closer look.
Under the microscope it was soon obvious that they
were millipedes as they had two pairs of legs on each body
segment, unlike centipedes which only have one pair per
segment. Beyond that though they were quite unlike any
other millipede I had seen in Tobago or anywhere else for
that matter. The pairs of legs were not of the same length
with a short one and a long one on each side and the whole
of the animal’s body was covered in a fine layer of sand
which looked like it had been carefully cemented onto
every segment. I cleaned one up and found they were a
pale translucent colour underneath. I didn’t think much
more of it and just carried on with our main research for
the rest of the trip.
When I got back to the St. Augustine Campus I emailed
Rowland Shelley, an international expert on millipedes at the
North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences. We had
already corresponded on other research matters so he was
happy to look at some photos I had taken of the millipede.
He got back to me very quickly as he had not seen anything
like it before, he contacted Sergei Golovatch at the Russian
Academy of Sciences in Moscow and he was excited as well.
The only other species that they could find that was close
to my one was collected from central Guyana many years
ago but it had no mention of being covered in sand. They
both wanted more specimens to study; males in particular
(the genitals of male millipedes are a key feature in species
I didn’t get a chance to visit Tobago for research until
June 2013 and I found more specimens in the same site as
well as two other sites near Charlotteville and Speyside. I
sent some specimens to Rowland who did some very delicate
dissection work to look at key features and then started work
on describing the new species. He asked me if I would like
to write up the paper with him or if I would prefer that he
did it himself in which case he would name the millipede
after me – it didn’t take me long to choose the latter! On
September 11, 2015 the paper was finally published naming
the new species Pandirodesmus rutherfordi.
Years ago when I was an undergraduate student at
Glasgow University in Scotland a friend made a cartoon
birthday card showing me traveling to far off countries and
discovering new species, it was a great feeling to have that
story finally come true.
Discovering more about the nature that surrounds us is
not just the preserve of scientists it is something that anyone
can do. To help people do this the UWI Zoology Museum
along with partners the Trinidad & Tobago Field Naturalists’
Club, will be running the first ever Tobago Bioblitz on
October 24-25. Since 2012 there has been an annual Bioblitz
in Trinidad. The first event was in Tucker Valley, then Arima
Valley in 2013 and Nariva Swamp in 2014 so it is about
time to head over to Tobago. Charlotteville was the ideal
choice as within a short distance you can find a wide range
PRESERVED FOREVER: Mike and the Millipede Pandirodesmus rutherfordi. PHOTO: ATIBA CUDJOE
of habitats from coral reefs and seagrass beds to rainforests
and rivers. Many other scientists and researchers have made
interesting discoveries in and around Charlotteville and
hopefully some of this year’s bioblitzers will do the same.
Other groups getting involved in the Bioblitz include the
Trinidad & Tobago Eco Divers, Environment Tobago and
On Saturday 24 various experts and volunteers will
gather to record every species of plant, bird, mammal,
reptile, amphibian, fish, invertebrate and fungus that they
can find. Starting at noon they will cover the forests, streams,
rivers, coral reefs and beaches looking for potential species.
As well as taking photographs and making notes some
specimens will be collected and brought back to the Bioblitz
basecamp for further identification. The basecamp will be
at the Environmental Research Institution, Charlotteville
(ERIC) where the Bioblitz teams will bring back their
records, get food and drinks and then head back out to
survey some more - many of them going through the night!
On Sunday 25 the public is invited to drop in and see
what the experts have been up to. From the basecamp there
will be guided walks along the trail from Charlotteville
past Pirate’s Bay and into the forest (6am, 8am and 10am);
guided snorkelling in Man of War Bay (8am, 9am and
10am); displays of specimens and information about the
biodiversity of the area and fun activities for families (from
6am to 1pm). The recording stops after 24 hours at noon
on the Sunday and the final total of species recorded will be
announced around 12.30pm at the basecamp.
That Millipede from Charlotteville
BY MIKE RUTHERFORD
“Years ago when I
was an undergraduate
student at Glasgow
University in Scotland
a friend made a
cartoon birthday card
showing me traveling
to far off countries
and discovering new
species, it was a great
feeling to have that
story finally come
For more information about this event and past
Bioblitzes you can visit the website
or the Facebook page - TandTBioblitz
or email email@example.com or call Mike Rutherford on 329 8401
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