President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association (SVGCA) Julian Jack says he considered resigning amidst the no-confidence motion brought against him, but feels he has “an open chance” of retaining the position when he faces a vote on Saturday, although three members of his executive no longer support him as president.
Saturday’s meeting is in response to a May 5 petition by captain of Smashers Cricket Club, Marvin Harry, calling for a vote of no confidence in Jack and subsequently immediate fresh election of the entire executive body
“One or two of my good colleagues said to me that it is not good for a sitting president to be ousted, so make sure you do the right thing; make sure that if you are going to run you have a good chance, and if not, it (resignation) is still open to you,” Jack told I-Witness News on Thursday.
But he dismissed the accusations against him, saying he does not believe that the supporters of the petition are “justified” in their call for his ouster.
“I have seen the grounds on which they want to do that. Even those are so preliminary and so insignificant, you don’t think people would ask for that unless they have some other motive,” he said.
Harry pointed to the poor performance of the national Under-15 team, which have not won a game for over three years, and has placed last for over seven consecutive years, and accused Jack of passing blame to the management of the team.
Among other things, he also said there were conflicts of interest in lodging Cricket Association monies at Teachers Co-operative Credit Union, which Jack manages. He also said that Jack’s club, Radcliffe, was the only one to receive money and equipment under a West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) programme.
But Jack said Harry has focused on the poor performance of the national Under-15 squad and ignored the success in the other two leagues.
We have said that there have been for years a number of persons who have moved from the Under-15 to the Under-19 squad who have gone on to play at the regional level.
“It is not that as president I try to block anything that … can happen to improve the performance of these guys.
“The Under-15 team is not doing as well as we expected, but it is not because we didn’t try,” he said, adding that the association has experimented with different coaching strategies and spend EC$40,000 preparing the squad last year.
Deeper U-15 issues
But Jack said that the problem goes deeper than just providing opportunities.
He said SVG’s Under-15 cricket was strong when there was a North Leeward Under-15 tournament, adding that Kishore Shallow, who is canvassing to replace Jack on Saturday, is a product of that tournament.
He said that back then, youth cricket was geared to competition as is happening in Dominica, Grenada, and St. Lucia.
“The main point I am making here is that you can’t blame the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association for the demise or for the fact that the Under-15 team is not producing, because am saying they are not exposed to what they should be exposed to.
“And, secondly, we don’t have access to them while they are in school. So, whereas in Dominica, Grenada, or St. Lucia, the sports department and the Ministry of Education work together and take those guys out when they want to take them out, let them go and practise, let them go and play cricket and play at a competitive level, so they develop that hardness in them and that spirit of competition, you don’t have that here in St. Vincent. We play the regular zonal competition but even the funding is not enough,” Jack said.
Jack further said the decision to deposit Cricket Association monies at the Teacher Co-operative Credit Union was taken before be became president of the association, and said it was not a conflict of interest as Harry claimed, adding that other organisations also bank with the credit union.
“In fact, one can say, the funds are very safe. They get their returns, as it is due. I don’t know why they would want to say that is a conflict of interest. Is that to say if you are a manager of a bank and you are involved in a club that you should not bank any money with it? It I was not my initiative in the first case,” Jack said.
He said that when the association wanted to open the account at the Union, he asked why they didn’t go somewhere else, but the president at the time said he had his own personal funds at the credit union and felt safe there.
Jack also denied that his club, Radcliffe, was the only one to receive special grant from the WICB of an estimated US$5,000, in addition to equipment.
Jack said the first club was the Neal Williams Academy about five years ago when the programme was just advertised.
He, however, said players from other clubs, and players in the Georgetown-Colonaire area are also using the equipment. “So, although Radcliffe own it, it is not only Radcliffe players can use it.”
And while Jack dismissed the accusations against him, he said the petition is having a big impact, especially since it is the first time that there is an attempt to ouster the head of the Cricket Association.
Ask if he was confident that he would survive Saturday’s vote, Jack said:
“One cannot really and truly read the minds of people, but if I look at the points raised by the proposer of this petition, I don’t think they are substantial points and one that should pull an organization down.”
He further said neither he nor his executive has tried to stop any programmes that are progressive or that they can fund.
“I will complain that we don’t have funds to do it, and if we don’t have to do it, I will say we have to come up with some programmes that we can help to get the money to do the programme. And if we can’t get it, then we may have to say, ‘Well, we can’t go on with it.’ Because I am not going to run the association into the red just because you want to have a programme.”
Jack said there are two or three members of his executive who “are not necessarily supporting me, per se.
“I am not even sure why they are not supporting me, but I think the rest of the executive, generally are behind me as president,” he said.
When pressed for names, he added, “I wouldn’t want to call names at this time.”
Among those persons is one of the two vice-presidents of the organisation. “I think one of them is not there, but I think I have the support of the other. Again, I won’t get into the names at this point,” Jack said.
Shallow to challenge?
I-Witness News understands that Kishore Shallow has been canvassing the cricket clubs, asking them to vote for him as Jack’s replacement.
“I think I heard somebody say that, but he has not said that to me. I don’t know if I am in a position to say he is. I know he has missed a couple meetings recently and, in terms of speaking, he has not spoken to me, although he would send emails, generally. I don’t know if that is an indication that he would run,” Jack said.
Asked what he thinks of his chances should there be a vote with him and Shallow as the candidates, Jack said:
“I think it is an open chance, because you never know what work he would have done on the outside.
“But I have been speaking to clubs and I have not gotten the impression that they are against me or even the executive. Some people think there are some things we can do, or do even better, particularly the question of prize money. They figure that we can do better than that.”
Jack said that ahead of the May 5 petition, and after the January general meeting of the association, he had undertaken to speak to sponsors about increased prize money.
He said he had “a fairly good response from one, and the other person is still looking”.
“I think that as a person who has run five times without opposition, I don’t think that so many people would have turned away from me as a president in that point of time. I would think that if I would be running, my chances are good,” he said.