Outgoing West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) CEO Ernest Hilaire is hoping for an improved relationship between the Board and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) after he departs office.
Hilaire's term as CEO will end in September, when he takes up the position as St Lucia's High Commissioner to London.
During an interview with Observer Radio on Tuesday, also featuring the Express, Hilaire said even after the departure of former WIPA president and CEO Dinanath Ramnarine—who announced his resignation from the players body in March—relations between the parties have not changed much.
"Yes the change of face will make a different, (and) the styles are dramatically different," Hilaire said. "I don't know the change of face necessarily changes the [WIPA] agenda. I hope it will change the agenda, I hope we'll have a more reasoned and structured approach of our relationship, but at the end of the day, as CEO of the governing body, (I have a responsibility) which has to be fulfilled."
Hilaire even said he had a "good relationship" with Ramnarine before he became WICB CEO in 2009.
"I don't think [relations between WIPA and WICB] have improved," he stated. "It's ironic. Before I became CEO, Mr Ramnarine and I were friends, in terms of a professional capacity, sharing ideas, discussing ideas. He was one of my biggest supporters to get the job.
"We actually started off having a very good relationship," Hilaire continued, "but the relationship deteriorated very quickly because of a style, the manner in which issues are dealt with. For me, a lack of reasoning in how things are done, no respect for WICB as a governing body, and it deteriorated, and I don't know that it ever improved."
Hilaire was also proud at the fact that the last player strike—ahead of the West Indies' 2009 home tour against Bangladesh—took place before his tenure.
"Since I became CEO, there's never been a strike, and, knock on wood, there will not be one before I leave. That's just the truth," he said.
"Maybe we have been able to force WIPA into alternative mechanisms than [calling] a strike. Because a strike is always the first reaction. We had to make the point you may be right you may be wrong, but the first response cannot be calling a strike, because it's too detrimental to West Indies cricket. But in the end of it, we became further and further apart."
"But I had to do what I had to do for West Indies cricket," Hilaire added. "I'm sure he would say [the same] for WIPA, and I respect him for that."
The WICB CEO also pointed to the Chris Gayle saga, which saw the outspoken left-handed opener barred from the regional team for a year and a half, saying it was "undoubtedly the lowest period" of his three-year term.
He recalled that WICB officials, including president Julian Hunte, had met with Guyanese veteran batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul for similar reasons, and that his matter was resolved in a two-hour meeting. But "other influences," Hilair claimed, prevented that from happening with Gayle.
"That meeting could have solved the problem immediately, just like we did with the Chanderpaul matter. Because of other influences involved, it went on and on. For me it was low because we could have avoided all of that. But it's instructive now to see what is happening in England with the coach (Andy Flower) and (batsman Kevin) Pietersen, and the kind of mirror image of what took place with us. Let's see how it is resolved."