Not ‘sweet’ WICB cricket
THE West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is currently immersed in arrangements for its annual general meeting on March 27 at a time when the governing body of this region’s most popular game continues to reveal serious leadership weaknesses, and an alarming consistency for ignoring well-intentioned “time-for-change” recommendations.
Perhaps some of the best known major recommendations for structural changes, creative policies and programmes are located in the October 2007 “Report on Governance of West Indies Cricket”.
Interestingly, this committee was established by the WICB, largely on an initiative by Caricom, at a time of perceived widening crises, including poor management and recurring conflicts between the WICB and the West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA).
Now, more than five years later, because of a convergence of seeming old boys’ interests, blended with a shared passion for retaining the management status quo, cricket-loving people of our region remain exposed to contempt from the WICB’s decision-makers on the implementation process of that Governance Committee Report.
The big “news” at this time is focused on who will be elected or re-elected to the leadership of the WICB. Will, for instance, the incumbent four-time president Julian Hunte of St Lucia again succeed in his bid for re-election; or will the prize go to his Jamaican vice-president pal, Whycliffe Cameron, who has been eyeing his chances for the number one spot?
Whatever the new post-elections management structure of the WICB, cricket commentators, as well as others knowledgeable about regional cricket are quite likely to remain cynical and doubtful about prospects for changes as advocated in the Governance Committee Report.
That committee comprised three well-known names across this region—former long-serving Jamaican Prime Minister, PJ Patterson (chairman); Sir Alister McInyre and Dr Ian McDonald—all recognised as knowledgeable and passionate enthusiasts of West Indies cricket.
Questions rightly continue to be raised on the scant interest shown by the WICB in the phased implementation of the Governance Committee Report and, relatedly, the evident failure of Caricom, via its Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Cricket, to secure a structured working relationship with the Board’s decision-makers.
But, at this time I wish to refer to what is viewed as the shocking contempt shown by the WICB towards that regional/international cricket icon—Clive Lloyd.
At a time when some sporting, social and political commentators, as well as government and private sector leaders have gone silent, the legendary fast-bowler Andy Roberts chose to go public with his disappointment over the shocking failure by Lloyd to secure a required second nomination from ANY of the territorial boards—other than his hometown’s Guyana Cricket Board (GCB).
Having been first nominated by the GCB, Lloyd had sought a required second nomination from the cricket boards of Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. Whatever the real reason or reasons, they opted to reject his request.
Like the gentleman he is known to be, Lloyd, chose to take that humiliation in good stride.
It was the second WICB rejection for Lloyd, the first being the self-serving, expedient one on his first presidential bid while living in England.
Although it was public knowledge that he sustained a physical presence in Guyana, kept commuting between Britain and the Caribbean, never lost active interest in West Indies cricket, and had impeccable credentials in service provided to regional and international cricket, his “foreign” home base was used as the excuse to deny him running for the WICB presidency.
Roberts, who has served on various WICB committees, told the media: “Lloyd has a proven track record leading from the front and is a respected figure...He would have been my choice for president and it is a pity the territorial boards did not accept his offer...”
Writing earlier on the coming WICB elections, the noted cricket broadcaster and columnist, Tony Cozier, thought it necessary to alert readers that “nothing is likely to change…”
“The shambolic state of West Indies cricket administration,” declared Cozier, “long established, has (now) been further substantiated by the jostling for the West Indies Cricket Board’s presidency….” He noted that Julian Hunte, “after hinting that he would finally step down as president, has been reportedly influenced to seek a fourth successive term…”
For the former president of the West Indies Players’ Association, Dinanath Ramnarine, who had recurring battles with the WICB’s management: “It’s quite sad that such an outstanding Caribbean man, like Clive Lloyd, internationally famous as a player and leader in West Indies cricket could have been denied the opportunity to gain the required (second) nomination needed to contest the post of president…”
Personally, I think that perhaps the Heads of Government must now tell the region’s public if and when they intend to revive interest in that seminal governance report on West Indies cricket. That is, if they are not too preoccupied with domestic challenges. What a show!