The West Indies Players Association is seeking legal advice on behalf of Kirk Edwards, who has been expelled from the Barbados team in the NAGICO SUPER50 tournament.
The batsman returned to Barbados from Trinidad yesterday evening, but when he arrived at the Grantley Adams International Airport he refused to tell the media why he had been kicked out.
But a statement issued by WIPA last night threw some light on the situation. (See full statement below)
The West Indies Players Association (WIPA) has expressed shock and disbelief following today’s expulsion of West Indies batsman Kirk Edwards from the Barbados team which is taking part in the Nagico Super50, the West Indies Cricket Board’s regional one-day competition.
President and CEO of WIPA, Wavell Hinds, who, along WIPA Director Michael Hall, held late night discussions with the player and Barbados’ team manager Hartley Reid about the issue which eventually led to his being sent home was shocked at the eventual outcome.
“After Kirk made us (myself and Michael) aware that he had been threatened with expulsion from the team, and of the issue which had given rise to the threat, I immediately contacted Mr. Reid and asked if he would be good enough to meet with us and Kirk at the team hotel right after the WIPA AGM which was being held nearby and he agreed,” said Hinds. “We were firmly of the view that what Kirk had advised us of as being the issue was a matter which could be easily resolved through sensible and well-intentioned dialogue, and certainly nothing, not even in our wildest dreams, which might warrant the drastic and draconian abuse of power by the team’s manager. Kirk Edwards has been sent home – but Hartley Reid is still there – the sponsors must be overjoyed.”
WIPA understands that the matter arose in relation to the issue of match kit to Mr. Edwards by the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) ahead of the tournament. We are advised that when a player is provided with these items by the BCA, they are asked to sign a document agreeing that the two match shirts and two match trousers must serve them for two years, and that the player will stand the cost of replacement in the event of any damage to or loss of these items within those two years.
Mr. Edwards advised us that he did not sign the document ahead of the 2012 and 2013 seasons because in previous years the kit barely lasted two months before getting to a stage of being unfit for use. Prior to his departure with the team, he was asked again by the BCA to sign the document in order to receive his kit, and he again did not do so. As a consequence he travelled to Trinidad without any official team kit.
On the evening of Thursday January 30th, Mr. Kenroy Williams (Mr. Edwards’ roommate) went to the manager’s room to collect his training kit and meal allowance. While there, the manager told Mr. Williams to also sign for and receive Mr. Edwards’ training kit and meal allowance – without Mr. Edwards’ consent.
On Saturday, February 1st, the manager advised Mr. Edwards that he had been instructed by the BCA to tell him that if he did not sign the document pertaining to the match kit he would be sent home, and that is when WIPA became aware of the matter.
During the course of our discussions with Mr. Reid, he advised us that the document which the BCA was insisting that Mr. Edwards sign or be sent home had in fact been superseded by an official player handbook (produced by the same BCA) which stated that a player would be entitled to four (4) sets of match kit for a one (1) year period. It is WIPA’s view that the document was thus rendered irrelevant, and we also believe that this is the only logical conclusion to come to about it. Mr. Reid unfortunately did not share this view and insisted that he was following orders from the BCA, and that if the other squad members had signed it then so should Mr. Edwards.
In an effort to reach a compromise solution, and with Mr. Edwards’ consent, WIPA offered to sign the document on his behalf and to accept responsibility for any costs to replace the kit for any reason whatsoever. To our complete surprise Mr. Reid told us in no uncertain terms that Mr. Edwards did not have the right give WIPA the authority to do so, demonstrating clearly a total lack of understanding of one the basic rights of all persons, and also contradicting his own actions of the previous Thursday evening when he gave a third party the right to sign on Mr. Edwards’ behalf – without his consent. It is instructive to note that the Barbados coach Mr. Henderson Springer, who was also present during the discussions, was highly supportive of the offer from WIPA as the best way to resolve the issue.
“Throughout the discussions Mr. Reid remained totally inflexible and at no time did he try to find a solution to what we still say is a non-issue,” Hinds said. “WIPA is extremely disappointed with Mr. Reid’s attitude. At the end of the day, an unnecessary blot has been placed on the career of a dedicated and talented West Indian cricketer, all because those entrusted with leadership roles in our game appear not to have the requisite skills to execute the job.”
This decision is as puzzling as Mr. Edwards’ mysterious removal as captain of the Barbados team – following a successful and winning stint in that role in 2013, high praise for his leadership of the West Indies A team from head coach Junior Bennett, and clear recognition of his leadership potential by the WICB who had previously named him vice-captain of the senior team. It may or may not be a coincidence that Mr. Reid’s manager’s report from the 2013 season was delayed almost a year and submitted to the BCA just ahead of its decision on who would be captain in 2014. WIPA understands that Mr. Edwards was nominated for the captaincy by the BCA appointed Selection Committee, and that his nomination was rejected following the receipt of Mr. Reid’s 2013 season report.
WIPA will be seeking legal advice on the matter on behalf of Mr. Edwards.