Former government minister and sports organiser Hamilton Lashley has accused the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) of deliberately victimising Trinidadian cricketers and has called on the WICB’s executive membership to resign.
Commenting on the recent suspension of Phil Simmons as head coach of the West Indies team currently on a tour of Sri Lanka, the former MP for St Michael South East expressed his disappointment in the performance and decisions being made by the regional governing cricket body.
“This seems to be a logical expected pattern of events for anyone who follows cricket — knowing that this is part of a trail of victimisation orchestrated by the West Indies Cricket Board, of a control elite, organisers and administrators,” Lashley told Barbados TODAY.
And he zeroed in on the recent fortunes of Trinidadian players to make his point.
“ . . . Since the non-involvement of Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard . . . and we subsequently realised for some unexplained reason that of Denesh Ramdin the [former] Trinidadian captain of the west indies team was demoted, now you have the whole incident there with Phil Simmons.
“When you really scrutinise what has been happening, very few matches are being scheduled in Trinidad since the debacle that involved Bravo and Pollard. So then by extension the country of Trinidad is being victimized by these actions by the West Indies Cricket Board,” he lamented.
He gave his full support to Simmons and his comments on the selection of the West Indies team saying that everyone one had a right to speak his or her mind freely on issues.
“It seems now in this modern world like you have to pay the penalty for speaking the truth. I am totally in agreement with Mr Simmons. But at the same time I really feel that Mr Simmons did not have a choice but to apologise and use words like ‘it was a moment of madness’ simply because he felt [he is being] remunerated by the West Indies Cricket Board as coach . . . I feel he was unfairly treated,” Lashley, who has previously organized sports tours to and from Trinidad and Tobago said.
Lashley called for Simmons to be reinstated immediately.
“There will come some point in time when Caribbean people, especially the cricket directors in the islands that supported [Dave] Cameron’s presidency, will come to the reality that they need a reality check and come to grips with what is happening to West Indies cricket.
“They obviously are supporting Cameron and Cameron’s actions. I think that Lloyd should go, I think Cameron should go, I feel the entire board should go, especially with what happened in India.
“It is clear in my mind that Caribbean leaders have been pussyfooting around the entire issue and instead of calling a spade a spade and looking at what exactly is happening to Trinidad cricket and this enormous victimisation that has engulfed cricket by the West Indies Board. It must come to an end,” Lashley stated.
Lashley’s suggestions come weeks after Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board president Azim Bassarath echoed similar fears. He had stated he hoped Trinidadian players were not being specifically targeted because of their alleged role in last year’s controversial abandoned tour of India.
“I am hoping the [WICB] president (Dave Cameron) is not part of this move to spite and victimise Trinidad and Tobago players because of what transpired in India where Dwayne Bravo was captain and it is alleged that some of the Trinis were leading the charge,” Bassarath said.
“I hope it also does not have anything to do with Baldath Mahabir and the TTCB not supporting Mr Cameron for the presidency of the WICB. I would hate to think it has reached that level where the TTCB, which was considered the best territorial board in the Caribbean – and I still think we are -that we are treated in this manner.”
He added: “I would not sit down idly by as a WICB director and allow any victimisation and vindictiveness creep into West Indies cricket.”
Though left out of the West Indies One-Day International team to tour Sri Lanka, both Pollard and Bravo have been selected for the Twenty20 leg of the trip.