The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has rejected proposals by a CARICOM Review Panel for its dissolution.
In its response, details of which were made public today, the WICB accused the CARICOM panel of conducting a review of the regional game without reference to any president or other member of the individual territorial boards.
The release, authorized by president of the WICB Dave Cameron, charged that the interviews conducted by the panel were limited in scope and that it had not availed itself of several relevant facts.
“The presidents of the territorial boards expressed concern that neither they, nor members of their respective boards were interviewed or consulted by the panel. Additionally, none of the independent directors [was] interviewed by the panel. This failure to consult with a representative variety of local cricket administrators and operators meant, or had the consequence of, denying the panel a full opportunity of ascertaining the key facts. This has caused or triggered findings and recommendations by the panel which are not supported by the facts,” the WICB release stated.
The WICB accused the review panel which comprised of Professor Eudine Barriteau, Sir Dennis Byron, Dwain Gill, Deryck Murray and Warren Smith, of making statements and reaching conclusions related to the structure and governance of the WICB, while ignoring the sweeping structural and governance changes which had taken place since 2002. The WICB noted the CARICOM panel had erroneously placed great focus on connecting the WICB’s governance directly to the on-field performance of the senior West Indies team.
The report reiterated that the West Indies team was selected by a Selection Committee comprising cricket legends.
“The team consists of the best players available for selection and consists of men, not boys. The players are well supported, are comparatively well paid as professionals, and have an obligation to produce their best efforts consistently.
“It is therefore wrong to blame ‘governance’ of the WICB for the team’s performances on the field. This missed not only the initiatives put in place by the Board. In any event the WICB was not given the credit when the team won the ICC Champions Trophy ten years ago, or the T20 World Cup just three years ago.
“Little, if anything, was said about the significant strides in youth development and other aspects of West Indies cricket, including women’s cricket. It should be mentioned that the panel made much of the absence of a Women’s Cricket Test Team. But the records show that there has been at least one Test match played by WI Women in 2005. The facts are that Test matches for women are not common internationally,” the release noted.
In a rebuke of the methodology used by the CARICOM panel to arrive at specific conclusions, the WICB said the five-member body had incorrectly relied on the controversial abandonment of the 2014 Indian tour and the recent outbursts of Phil Simmons to make its judgments. The panel, the report stressed, had got its facts wrong.
“The Panel relied on the one-year old abandoned Indian Tour matter, and the more recent disciplinary action resulting from the inappropriate public comments by the coach, as matters which can justify their wide ranging assumptions and recommendations. The board is of the view that the panel got the facts wrong in both matters and therefore arrived at unjustified conclusions.
“The facts surrounding the cancellation of the tour are now pubic knowledge and it is well known that the Indian tour was not cancelled or acquiesced by the WICB; and the matter of the coach concerned his own irregular conduct and his breach of provisions of his contract. The matter was appropriately, and some believed leniently, dealt with by the management, andsupported by members of the Human Resource Committee.
“This was not a board decision as wasassumed by some in the media and the panel. The coach admitted that he had erred and apologized to the CEO and WICB publicly. The panel seems to have ignored the facts in this matter and drew conclusions based mostly on misguided and erroneous media reports,” the WICB noted.
The regional cricketing body rubbished any notion that a dissolution of the WICB would equate to an improvement of the West Indies team’s performances.
“This begs the question of whether the implementation of the panel’s recommendations, with or without the resignation of the board, would lead to the immediate and dramatic improvement of the players’ performance on the field of play. While the board is ultimately responsible for the performance of all of the West Indies Cricket teams, members felt there is no objective basis for this assumption or apparent leap of faith,” the release stated.
The WICB indicated that there was an erroneous assumption by the panel that the critical issue of unsatisfactory player performance on the field was directly related to the existing governance structures of the board.
“The record shows that several best practices initiatives have been put in place to improve the quality of player development and preparation, and employment conditions of all West Indian cricketers. For example, after just a relatively short period of implementation, it is already clear that the CPL and the new PCL will make a significant difference to the professionalism and performance of the teams going forward,” the WICB.
The release also highlighted several appointments of many of the region’s best brains at various levels across the Caribbean, as part of the effort to bring better structural and accountable management to cricket in the region. The WICB named personnel that taken up responsibilities in areas ranging from regional cricket grounds and fixtures, to medical and human resources management.
The WICB noted that over the years a number of recommendations had been made for the improvement of regional cricket but the CARICOM panel had failed to acknowledge that the board had implemented many of them.
“The WICB member directors noted that reference was made to the [Justice Anthony] Lucky Report in the Terms of Reference, but no mention is made of it in the committee’s final report. It seemed curious that no mention was made by the panel of the fact that the Lucky recommendations were all implemented by the WICB.
“Further, the panel referred to the [Charles] Wilkin Report and the [Percival James] Patterson Report. But no reference was made by the panel to the significant number of recommendations from both reports which have already been implemented by the WICB. It was further noted and accepted at the meeting that the board is under no obligation to accept every or all recommendations made to it by any person or body. With goodwill to, and respect for, all, the board reserves the right to make decisions, which it considers most appropriate and reasonable, and in the best interest of West Indies Cricket,” the WICB stated.
In rejecting the panel’s recommendations, the WICB said that did not mean it didn’t accept the need for further change. However, the board stressed that ongoing discussion and further “change decisions” to move West Indies Cricket forward had to be based on mutual respect, the facts, and a firm understanding of the status, developments and achievements of the board to date.
The WICB revealed that it would appoint a subcommittee that would look at some of the recommendations that had not been implemented and would take advice on the way forward.