Wednesday 22nd June, 2005

 

Business as usual at the WICB

 
 
 
 
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Justice Anthony Lucky (centre) and members of “The Lucky Committee,” Gregory Georges (right) and Avondale Thomas, make their way to the National Cricket Centre in Couva on Friday. The trio has been appointed by the WICB to investigate the Digicel sponsorship contract — another controversial situation in West Indies cricket.
Photos: Adrian Boodan

Teddy Griffith announced that he would not be standing for a second term as president of the WICB and a deadline was set for the nomination of candidates for the post. The deadline came and passed without nominations being received and the meeting was postponed to a later date.

What has become clear as one of T&T’s representatives on the board has explained is that the directors of the WICB are not interested in the election of a president but are determined to select their man and put him in place.

There is to be no presentation of candidates and assessment of their qualities and an election of a president. The directors will determine their choice and that will be that.

The WICB, like the TTCB, is the thing of a clique that is intent on holding on to power, even if it is obvious that the clique is unable to get the best for West Indies cricket or out of West Indies cricketers.

Everybody is dissatisfied with the manner in which cricket is run, especially about how the incompetents are slipped into positions of influence and authority and how they continue to hold on to those powers.

Everybody complains about the lack of accountability and transparency in the dealings of the WICB in matters that concern West Indies cricket in which we are all involved. But nothing is done about it and a constitution that had worked well in the past, has been literally hijacked so that it works to the benefit of the incumbents.

Whoever gets the presidency, even with the best will in the world, will be hamstrung by the directors of the board unless he is prepared for serious conflict. He must be willing to take on the incumbents who benefit from the status quo.

While WICB bewails the state of cricket, complains of the financial mess in which the board is, thus necessitating taking Digicel’s better sponsorship deal, the WICB never tells the public the true state of the finances and of what are the major debts comprised.

While there is tough negotiating and ongoing wrangling about contracts for players, there is an annual telephone bill that boggles the mind. The WICB’s wages bill for a staff of approximately 20, averages at between US$80-100 thousand per annum or about US$2 million. One can not be too surprised then, when West Indies Cricket Board is in financial difficulty, especially as it was so backward in not securing better contracts and sponsorship when the team was dominant and wanted all over the world.

Now, when the West Indies cricket team is less than attractive, the WICB is in the unenviable position of having to scramble for the most immediately attractive contract, in its effort to wipe out the pressing negative bills.

This did not happen overnight. The situation had been sliding steadily downhill when there was a combination of events that should have warned the population that the WICB was in a desperate state.

There was dissatisfaction with the management of the West Indies team in Sri Lanka and the president decided that the manager should be fired but the directors opposed and overruled him.

The WICB suffered a loss of some US$3 million in an unauthorised investment on Wall Street. The President thought the men responsible should be fired. Again he was overruled.

The captain and vice-captain of the West Indies team for the first official tour of the West Indies to South Africa, held the WICB to ransom, threatening to abort the tour over contractual dissatisfactions. The president thought the captain and his deputy should be relieved of the positions but again he was overruled. He came to the conclusion that he was not really in control and he resigned.

The new man will have the same entrenched directors who would be protecting their own interests. Any change he would make would only be achieved after serious battles or by convincing some recalcitrant directors that what benefits West Indies cricket would benefit the members of the board as well.

There is need for some higher authority to look into the running of West Indies cricket, putting in place a constitution that makes the Board accountable for its actions and making those actions, on our behalf and at our expense, open to scrutiny.

 

 

 

 

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