When alleged $7 billion Ponzi scheme fraudster Allen Stanford was prevented from trading a year ago there was a profound effect on the funding of cricket in the Caribbean and the Cayman Islands was one of the hardest hit.
Stanford was later arrested and is in prison now awaiting trial for operating what appears to be a monumental Ponzi scheme.
To ingratiate himself into Caribbean circles, Stanford ploughed over $100 million into reviving West Indies cricket and tiny territories like Cayman were getting substantial funding partly because it deserved it and also because Cayman kept exemplary accounts of where the money was going.
Despite Stanford’s demise, the Cayman cricket scene has continued to flourish and Theo Cuffy, a former Trinidad captain, and the sport’s technical director here, is proud that after 15 years here many youngsters he has coached are now accomplished national level players.
“Like every other Caribbean country, Cricket Cayman was appreciative of the Stanford Initiative and it contributed to a significant period in our development,” Cuffy said.
“However, we were never totally dependant on the Stanford Initiative to the extent of it affecting our development following his unpleasant situation.
“Cricket Cayman is fortunate to be one of six of the Government’s focus sports which have received a substantial annual grant from 1996 and the employment of a coach attached to the Department of Sports with particular emphasis towards total development in line with Cricket Cayman Strategic Plan.
“In addition Cricket Cayman has had great partnerships with local sponsors LIME (Cable and Wireless), Money Express, CLICO Cayman, British American Insurance and law firm Mourant du Feu & Jeune. Our development continues!
“There are many youngsters coming through Cricket Cayman. In the Under-15 group we have the likes of Santagel Bush, Anthony Dawes and Paul Laidlaw.
“In the Under-19s there’s Darren and Corey Cato, Dale Parker and Dorado Thompson and in the Under-25 players like Ramon Sealy, Marlon Bryan, Kervin Ebanks, Ricardo Roach, Omar Willis, Nicholas Roberts, Paul and Marc Chin, Sacha De Alvis and Zachary McLaughlin have become excellent players.”
Cuffy is pleased that the Jimmy Powell Oval pavilion in West Bay was officially opened in April 2009 after years of work. A magnificent cricket ground, it will be the focal point of the sport for years. It still needs full completion but at least it is usable now.
“It’s an ongoing project depending on available Government funds,” Cuffy added. “Cricket Cayman has purchased an electronic scoreboard which will be in operation in a couple of weeks.
“Our local season runs from January to July and off season from October to December. This year will see the upgrading of the outfield and building of practice nets.
“Cricket Cayman will be utilizing the facility for sports tourism bringing teams for off season training, festival matches with super stars and various other activities.
“The foundation is strong. Our programmes have grown at every age group. Our numbers are small but cricket is the most difficult of sporting disciplines and extremely challenging.
“Nevertheless, Caymanians have taken to it admirably. Presently we have, coaching and competitions at U/12, U/15, U/17, a schools team in the senior division, 16 men teams and 4 women teams.
“We have a dedicated and outstanding administration executive lead by Courtney Myles and an officiating organisation lead by Courtney Young second to none in the International Cricket Council Americas region. We need facilities to absorb the growth of the sport. In the meantime we are making do and definitely enjoying ourselves!”