The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will not dip into the national coffers to help solve the US$42 million lawsuit against the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has also made it clear that he is not asking CARICOM nations to pay the US$42 million bill that Indian cricket authorities have sent the WICB.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) made the monetary claim against the WICB after West Indies cricketers ended their cricket tour of Indian prematurely last month.
Gonsalves brokered a meeting between the WICB and disgruntled players recently, and said last week that he will help “in whatever way I can”.
“Now, when I said that I’ll be working to help with a resolution, for some strange reason, that metamorphosed that I will take money from the treasury of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and ask other countries to do so. I explicitly said no, that is not on the cards.” Gonsalves told a press conference on Monday.
“But because Ralph got involved and he’s playing a leading role in this matter, that what you have to do is to tarnish his role by going to an absorb position and to sell that to the region, where some news agencies believe that I said so, when I never said so,” he said said.
Gonsalves told reporters that he has written to CARICOM suggesting that it forward to the BCCI his proposal for the “grand settlement” of the BCCI’s US$42 million claim.
The proposal is asking that the WICB and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) take several steps, and that the BCCI forgo the claim in the interest of cricket.
Gonsalves said the “grand settlement” includes five elements, the first of which is that the WICB settles the internal matter with the “India 14”.
He was referring to the West Indies cricketers who ended prematurely their cricket tour in India last month over a pay dispute, resulting in the US$42 million claim for the BCCI.
At the request of Gonsalves, President of the WICB, Dave Cameron met with Dwayne Bravo and WIPA representatives two Fridays ago in Port of Spain, where Cameron was for a meeting of the WICB Governance Committee.
“All that we agreed on at the Hyatt Hotel in Port-of-Spain on the evening of the 30th of October — I don’t have to go through the details, but settle that first,” Gonsalves said.
The “grand settlement” is also calling for WIPA and the India 14 “to stop their internecine squabbling and get back on track as one entity in WIPA”.
Third, Gonsalves’ proposal is calling “for firm, urgent, practical steps to the be taken in the reform of the management and administrative systems of the West Indies Cricket Board.
“The West Indies Cricket Board at the moment is functioning as if it were a private club. It needs to be responsible and responsive to the community. These are issues which have been raised in the Patterson report several years ago and that is the starting point for the reform, otherwise this thing is going to happen again,” Gonsalves said.
“I’m not making any criticism here about any individual leader currently inside of the WICB. I think it is clear to everybody that the structures which exist are not appropriate for the administration and management of West Indies cricket. They have to be responsive and responsible to the community.
“WICB doesn’t own any cricket ground. WICB doesn’t own West Indies cricket; the people of the region own it. They (WICB) are custodians with their links to the ICC to organize cricket at the regional level and at international level. There are national associations, but the structure which exists is inadequate for these times and these circumstances.”
The forth point of Gonsalves’ “grand settlement” is that “the WICB and the BCCI must work more closely and collaboratively in the interest of both Indian and West Indian cricket and world cricket.
“And, of course, there are many practical things which we can do together. And once we have those, as the lawyers will say, in those premises, given those four points, the fifth point is that India, in the interest of cricket in Indian and the Caribbean and world cricket, that they simply forgo the claim in the light of what I call this grand settlement,” Gonsalves said.
He said he has copied his letter to CARICOM’s bureau and noted that time is running out on the WICB to avoid a lawsuit.
“Time is of the essence, because on Friday of this week will be the 15th day after the letter from the BCCI to the West Indies Cricket Board making the demand.”
Gonsalves acknowledged that Cameron sent a letter to the BCCI on Nov. 7, adding that while he knows the content of the letter, he will not talk about it.
He, however, said that Cameron had said at meeting in Port-of-Spain that he wants the help of CARICOM in approaching the BCCI and the Indian authorities to see if the matter can be resolved.