The rules of cricket require the bowling arm to be straight or near straight at the elbow at the moment of delivery of the ball.
If the bowler chucks (or throws), the umpire shouts: ‘No Ball!’, whereupon the batting side gets an additional run and the bowler is forced to bowl an extra ball.
So in cricket, if the bowler breaks this rule, he is punished, and the batting side is rewarded.
How did Denzil Douglas bowl that ceremonial first ball?
He threw the ball. He chucked it, right elbow well bent as if he was stoning a mango. He broke the rule and bowled a ‘No Ball’. And he did so brazenly in front of all of Warner Park.
Meanwhile, the poor umpire wouldn’t have been expected to shout ‘No Ball’, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d never in his life seen a first ball bowled that way. At that telling moment, might he have been wondering whether Douglas either didn’t know about the ‘No Ball’ rule or, worse yet, just didn’t care about it.
But while the umpire might be uncertain, we aren’t. We know that Douglas is a ‘No Baller’, and a habitual one at that. He knows the rules but he has no respect for them. And he has been bowling ‘No Balls’ since the start of his prime ministership nearly 20 years ago.
The problem with his habitual ‘No Balling’ over the years is that instead of being punished for it, he has rewarded himself, and instead of us being rewarded, we’re the ones who’re being punished for his ‘No Balls’, and more shamefully, we’ve allowed him to punish us.
That’s not how cricket is played! And he’s bowler, umpire, everything!
Many of us didn’t spot the ‘No Baller’ back then, but as time passed, we began to notice.
One his very first acts after the 1995 elections, when ‘the shine’ was still on the ‘ball’, was to approve a duty-free car for his brother. That was a ‘No Ball’.
His promise to the people of this country that the sugar industry would close over his dead body was broken. The sugar industry closed, and he’s still here. Another ‘No Ball’.
His leadership has led to the creation of a virtual separate state at the Southeast Peninsula of St. Kitts, and with restrained beach access in certain parts of it. This is a violent, back-to-colonialism ‘No Ball’.
To set up the SIDF and call it a private entity over which he had no control or influence was another ‘No Ball’; then he followed up more recently with the reverse, saying that the money in the SIDF is the people’s money, although, as we know, there is no accountability to the people for it. A callous and cynical ‘No Ball’.
To allow the public debt to run away, to mortgage away nearly 12% of the land mass of St. Kitts, to cause the National Bank to be owed $1 billion by the Government, to force the Bank, the Social Security Board, Brimstone Hill, Churches and a host of people and institutions into a ‘haircut’, and to advocate the exchange of the people’s land for the killer debt on their backs which he incurred, despite the availability of hundreds of millions of dollars in the SIDF and nearly $300 million in citizenship application fees in 2013 alone (all of which confirm that money was there to pay down the debt and to avoid the haircut)….all of those things are egregious ‘No Balls’.
His crude, lewd, disrespectful, abusive, insulting and unstatesmanlike behavior over the years is an obnoxious ‘No Ball’.
His callous manipulation of the many people who have been pushed into desperation, or self-perceived desperation, to the point where they’ve been, and continue to be, willing to compromise their self-esteem, decency and integrity, and become ‘yes men’ and ‘yes women’, is a diabolical ‘No Ball’.
The fact that he’d want us to become a nation of beggars, falling at his feet for alms, is an historic and imperious ‘No Ball’.
His departure to Libya right after the last elections, and leaving no Government in place back home was a constitutional ‘No Ball’, as have been : his failure to ensure that there is a Deputy House Speaker over the past nearly five years; his efforts to change constituency boundaries in 2009 (do you remember Justice Belle’s famous “stranger to the truth” comment back then?) and again in 2014; his effort to pass a law adding a senator when Justice Benjamin said that Douglas had at his disposal three constitutionally acceptable ways of appointing the extra senator, but instead departed from them and chose an unconstitutional way; and the appointment to electoral decision-making positions of his acolytes whose loyalties are to him rather than to their mandate to justly and lawfully discharge their duties.
Further, his mortal fear of facing a Motion of No Confidence, exacerbated by the fact that he has ducked it for 20 months, is not only a constitutional and democratic ‘No Ball’ but is also clear evidence of a deep-seated cowardice that’s typical of habitual ‘No Ballers’.
What exists in our health system is a ‘No Ball’. And the massive disregard towards the physical and emotional health and wellness of the teachers and other workers, and the students of the Basseterre High School, and their families, and the disdain for the Teachers’ Union and workers’ rights generally, is a massive “No Ball’.
The BHS fiasco is also an educational ‘ No Ball’ because God knows the extent of the negative impact of it on 800 children, and counting.
What could be more important to a nation than the physical and emotional health and wellbeing and the education of its people, especially its young? ‘No Ball’ Douglas!
People who’ve known the ‘No Baller’ all of his life say that they’re not surprised by his behavior. And to prove them right, he has boasted publicly: “ I bad since I born”.
In other words, he has been a ‘No Baller since he born’.
We’ll hear about some of the other ‘No Balls’ that have been bowled in this CPL, not on the cricket field, of course, but we’ll wait for it to pass before we do.
Meanwhile, let me end on another area in which Douglas has shown his hand as a ‘No Baller’: the media.
He controls the Labour Spokesman and has substantial influence over the Leewards Times. He controls ZIZ Radio and TV. And he wields influence over Freedom Radio FM and Choice FM.
He used to control Sugar City, and is looking to do so again. And he has even tried to take control of Radio St. Kitts-Nevis.
Now why would a prime minister who claims to be an advocate of democracy want to wield so much control over so many media houses in one little country like ours? He boasts of the number of broadcast licences that have been issued during his stewardship, yet he wants to control as many of them as possible.
Is that why they got licences in the first place? Was that part of the plan of the ‘No
No Balls, Douglas.