Wednesday, March 21, 2007

WORLD CUP DIARY: Woolmer and thereafter

It’s been a mad few days at work here at the World Cup, and I seem to have lost all perspective of time. If my memory serves me right, it was the day before yesterday – on the 18th, a day after Ireland beat Pakistan – that he died. That makes it approximately 53 hours since his death.

I was across at the Melbourne Cricket Club at the time, planning to put together what would have been a great set of stories. A group of Irish club cricketers who are in Kingston were playing a match against A West Indian All-Star XI, that included Michael Holding, Gordon Greenidge, Lawrence Rowe and others. Less famous members of the team included Carlton Baugh Jr, Robert Samuels (Marlon’s brother) and Xavier Marshall.

That made it three potentially great interviews, a story on the event and a story with Robert on Marlon. All of it, obviously, got scrapped when the Woolmer news came in; at the time, just that he had been hospitalised. Soon of course, we realised he is dead, and officially at least, we still don’t know why he died. Because it was such a complicated method of dying that the medical staff here have not been able to figure anything out yet despite conducting a series of tests and an autopsy on his body.

Some people say he died of an overdose of sleeping pills – deliberately consumed or accidentally; some people say he had a cerebral stroke (doesn’t explain the puke and blood on the bathroom floor); some say he was bumped off by someone because of his links with some betting syndicate or another. No one seems to think that he just died. I don’t either, and the authorities’ dilly-dallying is only adding fuel to the other, more conspiratorial, arguments.

As for me, I would be most inclined to believe that he had a drink too many and had a few sleeping pills too many and got out. Whether he did this deliberately or accidentally, I don’t know. How could I? Or anyone else, for that matter.

Anyway, incidents such as these that have brought the world to a standstill have been keeping me busy, which has also meant that I have been able to precious little roaming around, shopping…and most importantly, stories. I have also not been able to get to St Kitts yet as was planned, and will only go there tomorrow, while my cameraperson lazes around at the beach there for one whole day.