KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – This country will today host the first of three One-Day International cricket matches between Australia and the West Indies, days after its Prime Minister said he hoped the “excessive amount of criticism” of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) was not because the leadership of the management body are no longer from some Caribbean countries.
Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said at a media briefing this week that the WICB, in the past, was “not even as democratic as it is now or open or transparent”.
CARICOM Heads of Government at their meeting in Suriname last week agreed to seek an urgent meeting between the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Cricket and the WICB before the end of this month. The talks would try to resolve “several issues,” according to a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting.
The Subcommittee was mandated to mediate in the on-going dispute between West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle and the WICB as well as address issues related to the governance of cricket. The proposed talks are also expected to review the state of implementation of the Patterson Report on governance of West Indies Cricket.
CARICOM leaders said recent statement by the WICB in response to Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller was “insensitive, out of order and disappointing,” the communiqué said.
Simpson-Miller had criticized the WICB over the continuing omission of Gayle from West Indies cricket and because no matches in the tour by Australia had been scheduled for her country.
The WICB said the Prime Minister was ill-informed and was badly advised.
“… clearly, that statement was out of order, which the Cricket Board made and that was the consensus at the conference,” Gonsalves told journalists here, where the West Indies will play One-Day Internationals today, Sunday, and Tuesday.
He said the situation between Gayle and the WICB “is a matter between employer and employee”, and, therefore, a “mediating role is being offered to be played by the Prime Ministerial Subcommittee”.
“But we need to work out a series of protocols … between CARICOM and the board because you know governance issues are to be looked at,” Gonsalves further stated.
“A number of the associations … in many of these countries are not functioning in as democratic a way as they should and really, without the state intervening in them, should really highlight the need to have greater democracy and transparency in these organisations,” he said.
Gonsalves further said that at the WICB level, protocol must be worked out “in respect of the use of the playing facilities” and the scheduling of games, noting that respective countries have spent a lot of money on these facilities.
“But I want to say this. It may be because West Indies is not performing as well at cricket now that there is all this criticism of the Board. But there was a time when … the management was not even as democratic as it is now or open or transparent.
Gonsalves spoke of “the old days when one or two persons from Barbados control at some time, Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica.
“I sincerely hope that it is not because the current leadership has slipped from some of those territories that you find an excessive amount of criticism. Whatever the case may be, we need to make sure that we all contribute to the lifting of West Indies cricket and that was a commitment coming out of the conference,” he said.