By Neto Baptiste
Former West Indies fast bowler and president of the Liberta Sports Club, Kenneth Benjamin, is calling for a review of the government’s mandate requiring all sportspeople to be fully vaccinated before taking part in association sanctioned competitions and leagues.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Benjamin questioned the rationale behind the requirement for sports while all other sections of society are being allowed to return to their normal routines with the only requirement for the unvaccinated is to test twice monthly.
“People who are not vaccinated can go back to work and students can go to school but you just have to do the tests, so why couldn’t it be for sports? Why is it that to play local sports, amateur sports you have to be fully vaccinated? Everything else, you can go but you have to be tested twice per month, so what is going to happen to school sports because you say the children can go back to school once they get tested twice monthly. When it’s time to play school sports then what are you going to say, they can’t play because they are not fully vaccinated? What is it going to be?” he said.
The Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) recently announced it will host an eight-aside or Vax 8 tournament on December 18 and 19 at the Pigotts playing field and that according to the health protocols, all players must be fully vaccinated.
The declaration drew the ire of some people who lashed out at the association, accusing it of taking a divisive approach.
Despite his misgivings with the vaccination policy, Benjamin said the Blackhawks are set to compete in the December tournament.
“I think we have enough players who have taken the vaccine who wants to participant and so we have said to them that yes, go and register. I think they are supposed to be registering sometime … because I think Thursday is the deadline, so definitely, I believe that the Blackhawks will participate in that,” he said.
A maximum of 12 teams are expected to compete in the cricket association’s Vax 8 tournament which will be their first tournament since the conclusion of the Super 40 in February.