In October 2019, ahead of Guyana’s 2020 General and Regional Elections, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had apologised publicly for lewd behaviour when his expletive-laced comments were exposed in a leaked audio recording in which he stated that Gayle was now in his “bad books.” He made the remarks amidst rage that Gayle had appeared at a People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) rally in Linden that month and —though the cricketer made it clear that his presence at the rally was not an endorsement of the party– Jagdeo was livid, saying that the act meant an endorsement for the coalition government.
At that time Jagdeo had denied rumours that he was enraged because he had wanted Gayle to appear at a Progressive Youth Organisation (PYO) event on the same day, but the Jamaican opted for the Linden outing with the PNCR. “Tell him that you just get in fu—-g Jagdeo bad books,” the opposition leader was heard telling two men on the tape, as they discussed Tyrell Tull, a former Guyanese cricketer who was seen with Gayle in Linden.
In a press conference at the end of the week, a bashful Jagdeo apologised, stating: “I’m really sorry that the public had to hear what took place in a private setting.”
However, that was not the end of the matter as six months later, Gayle, in a YouTube video, expressed that Guyana’s polarised political situation had ruined his contract with the Jamaican team. He said that Tallawahs’ CEO, Geoff Miller and Tallawahs’ franchise owner, Chris Persaud had known a month in advance before the end of his three-year contract that there was no plan to renew it.
“They knew a month in advance that they didn’t want me,” he said. “This is all politics and this is personal as well. This is all coming from one visit in Guyana. Apparently, Guyana had their elections and at one visit, the minister of the country invited me to his community and I made a visit there to his community and the other side, which the owner is a part of as well, got offended and they all take it personal.”
In explaining the events, he said that months prior, Miller told him that the franchise was looking to sell the Tallawahs as it was struggling and asked Gayle to take a pay cut. Gayle was hesitant at first but eventually agreed, because of how desperate Miller sounded.
Gayle said that on different occasions Miller even discussed with him the players the franchise should retain and gave him the impression that he was still a valuable member of the team.
Soon, there were rumours that he would be transferred to the St. Lucia Zouks but when he contacted Miller, he denied this and asked Gayle to take another pay cut, with which the cricketer reluctantly agreed. When the date for the submission of names arrived, March 31, 2020, he wanted to negotiate again with Gayle. The Jamaican cricketer did not find out about his cut from the franchise until after the deadline, through a third party and hasn’t since heard from Miller.
He also pointed to the actions of former teammate Ramnaresh Sarwan, whom he said has held a grudge against him for personal reasons for years. Gayle held back no words in referring to Sarwan as “wicked”, “vindictive” and “immature.” Gayle said that it is known that these actions stemmed from his visit to Guyana and the displeasure of the opposition leader. Back in October 2019, the Jamaican had made it clear that he does not have an interest in Guyana’s politics and has mingled with both sides of the divide in the past.
“I, Christopher Gayle, would like to make it very clear that I in no way, manner or form endorse or support any individual or political party in Guyana. I have noted the many Social Media comments in relation to my recent presence in Linden, and I wish to set the record straight. I was invited to Linden to participate in a community outreach. As a sports personality, I relish the opportunity to meet with my fans, and also to reach out to any community under the neutral banner of sports. I am apolitical of any political commitment, and strongly condemn attempts to tarnish my brand and personality,” he had stated last year.
Jagdeo said at the press conference that he had apologised for his expletives and that he was angry because “the people of Guyana would believe somehow that Chris Gayle would endorse APNU.” He said that to be in his “bad book” meant that “some of these individuals I know them and so they call me from time to time to talk to me etcetera that means that privilege is gone.” Months later, the politician’s remarks appear to have had much more meaning.
Dinner with the opposition
Gayle said that he has had dinner with supporters of the opposition in the past and no uproar was made. He said that he had no idea that a trip to Linden, his first to the town, would lead to such personal feelings by Guyanese politicians.
He said that he personally has no problem with Persaud, still respects him and has shared good times with him, but wants the truth of the situation to be known. “I think he was actually persuaded to get rid of Chris Gayle because he’s not that type of person, I can tell you that,” the cricketer said. “I don’t know him well, I might be wrong, but the little time I spent around him and got to know him more, he’s definitely not that type of person…someone has to be in his ears telling him to get rid of Gayle.”
Meanwhile he believes that Miller too was being instructed and did what he did to protect his job. “You might come and say it’s nothing to do with the politics, but it was a big thing in Guyana…y’all came and used this politics thing against me and get me out of my own country.”
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