CARICOM has warned the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) it will “explore all options” to ensure the recommendations of its Cricket Governance Committee Report are implemented.
The new resolve to tackle the contentious issue comes following the 27th Inter-Sessional Conference of CARICOM Head of Government in Belize last week where regional Prime Ministers endorsed the recommendations of the Governance Panel’s report and “affirmed that they must be implemented.”
Chairman of CARICOM’s Prime Ministerial sub-committee on cricket, Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell said the heads were not “joking around” with the issue and would be approaching international bodies like cricket world’s governing body, the ICC, along with the powerful Indian Cricket Board, to make their position known.
Dr. Mitchell said: “The heads agreed to explore all options available to achieve the desired outcome of improved governance of West Indies cricket and undertook to inform concerned parties of their position.
“In other words, all relevant organisations involved in West Indies cricket will be informed of the entire Heads of Government position on this extremely important matter.
“There was unanimous support for the report of the Governance Committee and we have indicated also that we will be making contact with the international bodies and the BCCI to inform them of the governments’ position.”
The major recommendation of the Governance Report was the “immediate dissolution of the West Indies Cricket Board and the appointment of an interim board whose structure and composition would be radically different from the now proven, obsolete governance framework.
Additionally, the report called for the appointment of an interim board and a change management expert to run the affairs of regional cricket until the new governance structure was implemented.
Last December, the WICB flat out rejected the main recommendations of the Committee, branding them “unnecessary and intrusive.”
The board criticised the committee’s investigations as being “limited in scope” and argued that that had resulted in findings, which “are not supported by the facts.”
Dr. Mitchell, though, remained adamant that CARICOM would be resolute in ensuring the report’s recommendations were followed through on.
“The fact that we have said that we will use all options to ensure that the report is implemented, the West Indies Cricket Board can say it is dead but they may not have the wherewithal to ensure that it is dead,” said the Grenadian leader.
“If the heads represent the entire population of the region and the heads have stated firmly that this is an issue that concerns the entire … peoples of the region. I don’t know any organisation that represents just a few persons can in fact negate that position of the heads.
“If one does not respect the people in any community in any organisation then you are in fact worthless, as far as we are concerned so I don’t think there is any question that the Heads will ensure that this report – its substance and conclusion – are given teeth and this is precisely what we will be doing.”
Speculation is rife that Anthony Astaphan, QC, has been approached to offer legal advice to the CARICOM sub-committee on cricket on the way forward.
Barbados’ Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, speaking on the fringes of the conference, said the heads planned to approach the ICC “with a view to heightening awareness about the governance problems that have been be-devilling the administration of West Indies cricket.”
Stuart assured that CARICOM was not attempting “to take over West Indies cricket or to try to run West Indies cricket” but said the WICB’s “standards of corporate governance at the moment are undesirable, and that they have been doing much to undermine the integrity of West Indies cricket, and certainly, are compromising the standards to which we in the Caribbean have grown accustomed.”
He added: “Some Heads of Government have already come to the conclusion that it is a waste of time trying to engage (in discussions with) the present West Indies Cricket Board and therefore, there has to be an appeal elsewhere and other measures have to be adopted to sensitise the West Indies Cricket Board to the concerns of both Heads of Government and the people of the region”.
The Governance Committee was headed by UWI Cave Hill Principal, Professor Eudine Barriteau and included Sir Dennis Byron, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice; West Indies cricket legend Deryck Murray; Warren Smith, President of the Caribbean Development Bank; and Dwain Gill, President of the Grenada Cricket Association.