Cricket West Indies directors will meet on Sunday (March 24) to choose its president for the next two-year term of office. The incumbent is Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron of Jamaica. Challenging Cameron will be Ricky Skerritt of St Kitts. The present vice-president is Emmanuel Nanthan of St Lucia and his opponent will be Kishore Shallow of St Vincent. Skerritt is nominated by T&T, seconded by Leewards.
This is a crucial election and the future of West Indies cricket hinges on it. It’s as important and vital as that! Any cricket fan truly interested in cricket in the Caribbean, its future, and what would give it hope and sustenance would do well to pay close attention to it.
The reason for my pessimism is the performance of the incumbent and his trail of divisiveness over the past few years. My first suspicion was in late 2014 when he schemed to cut West Indies players’ fees by half for their tour of India but only informed them of this drastic measure after the tour began.
The then captain Dwayne Bravo and his men were shocked and being accustomed in the past to dealing with administrators who sought their interest and always did what was best for them, didn’t expect this turn of events, hence, in a subsequent team meeting, agreed to abandon the tour.
Leading up to this tragedy was the newly appointed president of the West Indies Players’ Association, Jamaican Wavell Hinds, colluding with Cameron and agreeing with the new financial arrangement. Bravo and company did not have a leg to stand on.
Quietly in the background stood Richard Pybus, the Englishman who was hired as Director of Cricket by the West Indies Cricket Board (as it was known at the time). Pybus was in India at the time and told Bravo it was a matter of ‘take it or leave it’.
Although Bravo asked to talk to the Board president, Cameron refused to talk to him. Lacking proper advice, the tour was abandoned. Instead of trying to mend fences the president decided to divide and rule revealing a total lack of leadership skills.
This president, almost as if to accentuate the fact he’s lacking these skills, begins to surround himself with foreigners to do the job having no faith in West Indians to be efficient.
For whatever reasons he might have there’s no way such a majority of personnel alien to our culture could build our cricket which is the job of the administration in the first place.
Let’s list them: The Chief Executive Officer; the Marketing Manager; the Head Coach and one of his assistants; the ‘A’ team coach; the under-19 coach; plus, the three supervisors of the cricket academy. Yet he boasts of how many coaches there are in the West Indies!
There are so many blemishes and prejudices in this administration that loyal West Indian fans are gradually waiting for better days and withdrawing their interests in the meantime. Cricket though, has such a powerful hold on the psyche of the most sports-minded of the Caribbean people that they instinctively are aware when something is woefully wrong with the administration of the game in the region.
To continue with the flaws, the weaknesses and the defects of this administration would certainly take more space than this entire newspaper copy! In a nutshell, it lacks knowledge of the ability to lead!
And anytime an institution finds itself in this predicament, the leaders would try almost anything to hold on to power simply because they love the position rather than the upliftment of the quality of the game. They just don’t know what is required to move the game forward.
The unkindest cut of all is that three of the territorial associations have decided not to listen to what Skerritt has to say. To not even listen! At least it’s only a matter of courtesy to hear what the challenger has to say then one can debate it or not and come out in the open and say that one’s board disagrees.
Conde Riley, the Barbados president makes a statement that his board had already decided to vote for the incumbent. What awful manners! How can you know what is best for cricket in the West Indies if you’re not willing to hear fresh ideas?
Barbados is very comfy and cosy because they are the chosen ones for any visiting tour every year whether it being a Test, ODI or t20. So that Riley and Cameron are making Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley very happy for her tourism trade!
Guyana is happy because they have an unconstitutionally elected board, so they are not going to upset the status quo and open up their secret files to reveal their anomalies.
Windward Islands are going to stick with St Lucian executive officer Emmanuel Nanthan as the incumbent vice-president and continue to host visiting teams every year also for their tourist trade. Jamaica will vote for Cameron.
Six territories at two votes per territory will give the incumbent another term to continue the annihilation of West Indies cricket. I hope it can be rescued in the future!