As President of the West Indies Players Association
(WIPA) Dinanath Ramnarine has -over the past year anyway
been engaged in an ongoing fight with the West Indies
cricket Board (WICB) as he champions the rights of the players
One of the first initiatives of new WICB President, Julian
Hunte was his stated intention to address the credibility
of the Board and also to appoint Ramnarine to one
of the four non-executive director positions which Ramnarine
has accepted with pride and humility.
On the face of this, it would appear to the non-partisan
observer that someone has either made a tactical move or
finally admitted that the WIPA through its President deserves
to be treated with a bit more courtesy than hitherto, and
to form part of the process to rehabilitate West Indies
As the new President has rightly pointed out, the players
are part of the problem and should be part of the process
of its resolution.
WIPA has formed in 1973 during the WI tour of England with
captain Rohan Kanhai as President and Deryck Murray, Secretary
and was incorporated on March 19, 2003 under the 1995 Companies
Act of T & T (Sections 9 and 309) but has been most
vibrant under Ramnarines leadership.
According to Ramnarine, WIPA is the authorized representative
and collective voice of all West Indian cricketers, past
and the exclusive bargaining agent
for Players who have been selected for their Territorial
teams and the West Indies Cricket Team, including those
on Retainer Contracts and on the Under-19 teams.
In February 2002 almost four years exactly from his
Test cricket debut
in the WI v England Test at Georgetown towards the end of
Ramnarine played in his last Test match between Pakistan
and WI at Sharjah where an on-field disagreement with captain,
Carl Hooper appears to many to have been part of a plot
to subtly remove him from Test cricket.
His ODI debut had taken place the previous year (1997) when
the WI played Sri Lanka in Port of Spain.
In the end, thwarted on every side and greatly disgusted
by the them and us syndrome that has been the
hallmark of WI cricket from day one - and one which has
now seen the team take on the appearance of a comic opera
rather than the cohesive professional entity that thrice
enabled them to lift the ICC World Cup Ramnarine
quit in frustration to pursue a full-time role as WIPA President.
It is interesting to note that Deryck Murray, one of WIPAs
founding members has stated that convincing the WI
Board that we had the best interests of West Indies cricket
at heart has always been a difficult battle and that
we were aware that, as far as the Board was concerned,
the Association would not be a welcome innovation.
It is also interesting that he was warned that I was
putting my West Indies cricket at risk as I would be targeted
by the Board and dropped at the first opportunity.
Ramnarine appears to have taken in front.
Dinanath Ramnarine was born on June 4, 1975 at Charlieville
where he attended the Charlieville Presbyterian Primary
School before moving on to the prestigious Presentation
College in Chaguanas. His father had died when he was very
young and as a result, life had become more challenging
for the family so that from early oclock, Ramnarine
has been used to dealing with challenges. A
Having graduated from Pres, Ramnarine worked
with Industrial Gases Limited (IGL) and then with Petrotrin.
Curiously enough, this young man who has been described
by some of his detractors as abrasive,obnoxious
and a street fighter with the vocabulary of a stevedore
among other less complimetary adjectives - spent
his time at Petrotrin in their Public Relations department
For Ramnarine, like thousands of young boys across the Caribbean,
cricket was an outlet from the slings and arrows of day-to-day
life in a small country village. In any event, cricket appears
to have always been his great love and having played for
his school, Ramnarine also went on to play for Azad Abasalis
Described by his admirers as a self-made man,
Ramnarine appears unafraid of a challenge and certainly,
is not prepared to take what he sees as insulting and injurious
behaviour lying down.
In the ongoing impasse between his association and the WICB,
it is clear to the unbiased onlooker that in his tussles
with the latter, il a raison.
What appears to stick in the collective throats of the WICB
is a perceived lack of finesse and diplomacy on his part.
Indeed, when challenged, local cricketing sahibs were quick
to agree that while Ramnarines cause had merit, it
was his manner that left a lot to be desired.
In fact, one wit brought some measure of levity to the entire
unfortunate business when he stated, Is more than
a lot, girl a lot is only 5000 square
Ramnarine, however, is adamant that his abrasive, confrontational
manner is the only one that the WICB appear to understand
and reckons that if that is the way to get things done,
then so be it.
One respected sports writer while agreeing that what
he has brought to the (WIPA/WICB) relationship is more assertiveness
and a more confrontational manner, quickly points
out that he is very thorough and clearly knows more
about the details of terms and contracts than most
members of the WICB for whom, he adds there appears to be
a clear lack of respect and trust.
He also points out that in five separate matters that have
gone to arbitration, the ruling has gone in favour of WIPA
so obviously Ramnarine is doing something right even if
the manner of so doing gets up the noses of his opponents.
Whether he does this with the jovial kindliness and respectful
manner which many who know him intimately say are an integral
part of his character or whether he is forced to treat
men as he finds them and engage in street-fighter
mode, one thing we can be sure of and that is he is doing
his job as WIPA President and representing his players to
the best of his ability.