In conversation with scientist Baron von Humboldt in the early 19th century President Thomas Jefferson is reputed to have said that when a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself public property.
Somewhat earlier in our history the Dalmatian-born Roman theologian Saint Jerome posited that though God can do all things, He cannot raise a virgin after she has fallen.
And this brings us once again to the board of the Barbados Cricket Association, the Jefferson Miller fiasco and the BCA’s response to their administrative gaffe.
The English language is a beautiful thing. It can be used to sway public opinion; it can be used to excuse and cover inadequacies; it can be utilized for the purpose of subterfuge; and it can create an impression that all is well and we can now live happily ever after. Based on Saturday’s public statement from the BCA, language can be equally potent by what is not said, as much as what is said.
Persons following the hiring and firing of Mr Miller from the position of the BCA’s chief executive officer, have queried whether due diligence was carried out on the gentleman. The BCA indicated in its statement that it contracted Profiles Caribbean Inc. “to assist in the recruitment” of a chief executive officer. Whether conveniently so, or strategically so, the BCA did not state in clear terms whether Profiles Caribbean Inc. undertook and completed a due diligence check on Mr Miller or what was the specific nature of its work after being “contracted”.
The BCA also indicated specifically that on their request, Mr Miller provided them with a certificate of character from the Broward Sheriff’s Office Records Department dated May 15, 2014. The BCA didn’t say but we can only assume that all was well at that stage given this was before Mr Miller’s July court date.
The BCA then contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and “conducted a state wide search of Mr Miller” which turned up no record of an arrest. Interestingly, while the BCA is very specific on its correspondence from Broward Sheriff’s Department, there are no specifics with respect to contacting the Florida Department and their “state wide search”. When exactly was this undertaken, and specifically, why? At this juncture, by the BCA’s own admission, they already had in their possession documentation on Mr. Miller’s character from Broward. If all was well then with that documentation, why the state wide search? And if all was not well, why the state wide search?
To the best of our knowledge, in every police jurisdiction under the sun, when records are prepared and maintained of citizens for the purpose of certificates of character, the documentation for official character reference always relate to convictions, not arrests.
According to documentation out of Florida, Mr Miller’s legal problems stretched from 2009 up to 2014. The BCA states that their search did not indicate Mr Miller had an arrest record. That is not to say one did not exist. But according to their precise language, the BCA’s search did not unearth an arrest record in the jurisdiction where they stated they checked. Perhaps the BCA checked the wrong location. Perhaps they should have checked WWW2. Miami-dadeclerk.com.
But the question is: Were these checks carried out by, we assume, the trained professionals at Profiles Caribbean Inc., or were they undertaken “state wide” in Florida by BCA laymen? This was not specified in the BCA statement.
The BCA stated that Mr Miller was convicted on July 25, 2014, a month after being contracted to run Barbados’ cricket. The BCA returned once again to specifics and stated that Mr Miller completed his probationary period on September 22, 2014 and “subsequent” to that date they learnt of his legal troubles.
In essence, what the BCA would have us believe is that they did carry out a due diligence check of Mr Miller up to late June; the popular and well-known US cricketer Mr Miller; the inductee into the Hartford Cricket Hall of Fame Miller; the six-time South Florida Cricket Association president Miller; the member of the USA National Selection Committee Miller; the member of the City of Lauderhill Florida Organizing Committee for the Mayor’s Cup Miller; and one of the people responsible for the building of the Central Broward Regional Park Cricket Stadium Miller. And they unearthed nothing. They knew nothing. And we have no choice but to accept their public statement.
This BCA board’s leadership will no doubt remain in office. But in the words of that beatified Roman cleric, we believe the present dispensation has lost something virginal it cannot retrieve – the public’s trust.