HISTORY OF CRICKET FOR THE BLIND IN THE WEST INDIES by the Barbados Blind Cricket AssociationIn 2001 Mr. Clevedon Mayers as President of the Barbados Council forthe Disabled met with Mr. Roger Fuggle at Discovery Bay Hotel, St.James, Barbados to discuss introducing Blind Cricket to Barbados. Mr.Mayers approached the Barbados Cricket Association, the NationalDisabilities Unit and the Paralympic Association of Barbados for theseOrganizations to take up the challenge.In July 2002 Mr. Mayers still President of the Council, held furtherdiscussions in London with Mr. Andy Sellins Coach of the English BlindCricket. In October 2002, Mr. Andy Sellins and Mr. Timothy Guttridgevisited Barbados and demonstrated Blind Cricket with a Cricket Pitch atan Exhibition called the Home Show which landed the Barbados Councilfor the Disabled the top Prize for Most Outstanding Booth.This was followed up by a visit of an English Blind Cricket Team toBarbados in March 2003 where two matches were played. One againstthe Celebrities in Queen’s Park and this was attended by over eighthundred persons. The Team lost against the Celebrities who includedplayers like Joel Garner, Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes. Thesecond Match was against the Barbados Blind Cricket Association whichthey won. These Matches were organized by the Barbados Council forthe Disabled..Affirmative action was initiated in July 2003, when a group of Englishplayers/Officials visited Barbados to conduct a workshop for people fromthe Caribbean. Two members of that party, namely Geoff Smith and TimGuttridge journeyed to Trinidad & Tobago funded by the CaribbeanCouncil for the Blind to make a Presentation on Blind Cricket at theBiennial General Meeting of the Caribbean Council for the Blind. Theycalled upon the delegates to take up the challenge of introducing thegame in the respective territories.In January 2004, a full English team visited Barbados for a series ofmatches. Two Trinidadians joined their Barbadian counterparts for thatthree match series, which the hosts lost but viewed as a step indevelopment.Barbados was the first territory to establish its Blind Cricket Association.(Barbados Blind Cricket Association) in 2005. It was incorporated as a Non Profit Organization under the CompaniesAct of Barbados on March 30th, 2006 with Company No. 26885.
Jamaica was the second territory to form its Blind Cricket Association(Jamaica Visually Impaired Cricket Association)In January 2005, a full English team visited Jamaica for a series ofdemonstration matches. It was during this visit that the West IndiesCricket Council for the Blind interim committee was inaugurated. Atthis point only three countries were involved namely, Host Jamaica,Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago. The members of the first interimcommittee were as follows:President: Daemion McLean.Vice President: Leroy Williams.Secretary General: Bhawani Persad.Treasurer: Margaret Jones.Cricket Development Officer: Vivalyn Latty-Scott.In October 2005, The West Indies Cricket Council for the Blind wasadmitted as a full member of the World Blind Cricket Council at ameeting in South Africa attended by President Daemion McLean anddevelopment officer Vivalyn Latty-Scott.Trinidad & Tobago was the third territory to launch its Blind CricketAssociation (T & T Blind Cricket Association.)In September 2005,with the support of the Caribbean Council for theBlind, Training personnel from the World Blind Cricket Council and theTrinidad & Tobago Blind Cricket Association, the First regional trainingprogramme for mainstream cricket coaches from the Caribbean was heldat the National Cricket Center, Balmaine Couva. Nine (9) Coaches fromthe following territories received training.Guyana, Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia/Windward Islands and Trinidad& Tobago were involved. The T & T players were also part of the processfrom which was developed a model for future training to be undertakenin the region. Other training programmes were subsequently held in St.Lucia/Windward Islands, and Guyana. The programme for the LeewardIslands has been put on hold because of the lack of funding.Guyana was the fourth territory to launch its Blind Cricket Association(Guyana Blind Cricket Association).The Windward Islands launched its sub regional sporting organization(the Windward Islands Cricket and Sporting Association for VisuallyImpaired persons.)
In March 2006, two representatives of the following Countries- Jamaica,Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and the Windward Islandsattended a General Meeting at the Pommarine Hotel, Barbados, whereapproval of the Constitution of WICCB was given. The West IndiesCricket Council for the Blind was officially launched by HonourableTrevor Prescod, the Minister of Social Transformation.The West Indies Cricket Council for the Blind Inc. was incorporated as aNon Profit Organization under the Companies Act of Barbados on March7th 2008 with Company Number 30419.INTER TERRITORIAL MATCHES.In May 2005, Barbados visited Trinidad & Tobago for a series of twomatches which the Barbadians won.In November of the said year, some representatives of the Trinidad andBarbados Blind Cricket Teams visited Dominica for a promotional game,witnessed by a large and enthusiastic crowd at the Botanic Gardensgrounds. To date, Dominica has been the only territory in the Caribbeanwhere the game is broadcast live on National Radio.In March 2006, some players from Trinidad again joined their Barbadiancounterparts for a weekend of cricket activities which saw the launch ofthe Guyana Blind Cricket Association and two promotional gamesinvolving mix teams.St. Lucia and Dominica in late May 2006, gathered in St. Lucia for thefirst Windward Islands Tournament for a week of cricket activities. Theywere joined by Barbados for some promotional and development games.In May 2007, The Trinidad & Tobago team visited Barbados and St.Lucia for two matches in each territory. For the T & T team there was alittle history in the making for it was the first time since these two teamshave been meeting that T & T finally defeated Barbados in one of thegames thereby drawing that particularly series. In St. Lucia, the T & TTeam won both games.Following the first Regional Tournament in Barbados in July 2006, thefirst West Indies Blind Cricket Team was selected to participate in theThird Cricket World Cup for the Blind in Pakistan in December of thesame year. The team placed fifth from seven participating nations. TheCaribbean Council for the Blind contributed significant funding to thecause.Prior to the team’s departure from Trinidad they were involved in a nineday camp funded by the sports company of Trinidad & Tobago.
The Second Regional Cricket Tournament was held in Jamaica whereJamaica retained the title. The Third Regional Tournament was held inTrinidad & Tobago in March 2008 the finals of which were hampered byrain resulting in both Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago being declaredjoint winners.In 2008, A West Indies team was again selected this time for a series ofmatches against an under 19 team from the London Cricket CommunityAssociation (LCCA now referred to as Cricket for Change). The twomatches were held in Barbados which the team won convincingly. Theywere not as fortunate however, when they visited England, for a seriesagainst the English senior Blind Cricket Team, losing both matches.Our dialogue with the West Indies Cricket Board held in October 2007have thus far resulted in some assistance being given for one delegatebeing able to participate in the 2007 meeting of the World Blind CricketCouncil and having a link on the WICB web site. Discussion onaffiliation is a work in progress since it must start at the country level.Focus at this time is on preparing for the Fourth Regional Tournament tobe held in Guyana, from July 18 – 26, 2009 to be followed one week laterby a series of Matches in Trinidad & Tobago involving the West Indiesand current world champions, Pakistan.2011 Update: • 5th Regional Tournament was held in Barbados from June 5th – 19th 2010. • Australia Blind Cricket Team made its first visit to the Caribbean at that time. • The 6th Regional Tournament is to be held in Jamaica from July 15 – July 22nd 2011.