PORT OF SPAIN – Outgoing chief executive officer of the West Indies Cricket Board Ernest Hilaire has described the recent victory of discarded batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan over the board during an arbitration process as a “dead issue”.
Sarwan was recently awarded $1 million, with the arbitration ruling agreeing that the Guyanese cricketer had been “publicly denigrated and humiliated”.
Arbitrator Seenath Jairam, SC, LLM found the WICB guilty of all charges brought against it by the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) and ruled that the WICB had to pay Sarwan for damages, loss of retainer contract, breach of contract (failure to ensure fair and transparent selection process), and loss of publicity/reputation.
The Board was also ordered to pay 85 per cent of conducting the arbitration, roughly $500,000.
also reported that Sarwan claimed during testimony at the arbitration hearing that Hilaire had “threatened” his career, and questioned his fitness and commitment to the West Indies team.
Questioned about the arbiter’s decision, Hilaire said the matter was over and he preferred not to comment on a matter he felt had been “distorted”.
Hilaire did say, however, that he “strongly believes” West Indies cricket could not afford to “go back to the old days”.
Hilaire is in his last month on the job, after which he will take up a new post as St Lucia’s High Commissioner to London.
The ruling, though, has raised questions over the board’s handling of issues in relation to its players.
A number of arbitration matters have gone WIPA’s way, including a decision in the T&T High Court to grant the players body an injunction to stop the WICB from terminating the last Memorandum of Understanding/Collective Bargaining Agreement (MOU/CBA). Hilaire said the MOU/CBA was the most problematic area, which caused the biggest “issues” between the WICB and WIPA.