Caribbean governments will have to stick to managing their own political affairs and leave the cricket to the board that has been managing the game for almost 100 years.
That was the clear message sent to CARICOM by the individual governing cricket boards of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands during the just concluded Annual General Meeting and the Board of Directors quarterly meeting that was held in Kingston this past Friday and Saturday.
In a unified response to the CARICOM Review Panel on Cricket Governance which had recommended the dissolution of the WICB, the board responded over the weekend: “We the full member boards of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) do hereby respectfully disagree with the call for the dissolution of the board and we stand by the ‘Position Paper of the West Indies Cricket Board in response to the recommendations of the CARICOM Review Panel on Cricket Governance which was issued on the 23rd day of December 2015.
“We have all read the response and fully support the position enunciated therein. We look forward to the implementation of the various proposals put forward by the WICB as the way forward for cricket and cricket administration in the region.”
Opinions have been divided on the Review Panel’s proposals for dissolution of the board with Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies and former WICB director Professor Sir Hilary Beckles throwing his support behind the WICB and suggesting that reform was the way to go and not dissolution.
Last November he described the WICB as a cultural treasure. He said then that a restructuring exercise hopefully would see the WICB emerge “stronger, legitimate and more respected”. Sir Hilary added that such a development would be worthy of grand celebration in 2027 when the board reaches the milestone of 100 years of service to regional cricket and “Caribbean nationhood”.
“Old institutions, furthermore, like the WICB and The UWI, are cultural treasures within our new and emerging societies and should be preserved for posterity, but change with the times they must. This is not an easy task. Stakeholders have the right to demand their transformation but must facilitate their adaptation. As we enter this second phase of nation-building, a new management model for the WICB is required so that it may persist as fit for purpose,” Sir Hilary said.
Meanwhile over the weekend in Kingston it was also announced that the regional governing board would be renamed Cricket West Indies shortly.
WICB president Dave Cameron made the official announcement and added that while that name change would be happening, independent director Don Wehby would be leading a team of other independents including Clifford Reis, Ricky Skerritt and three others to be named, to assess the undone recommendations from the Lucky, Patterson and Wilkin Reports. These reports have over time made suggestions regarding changes to the WICB and its governance and management structures.
“The terms of reference of this team, will focus primarily on the recommendations that have not been implemented and for the team to examine if there is an opportunity to bring anything back to the territorial boards and the WICB for adoption by the shareholders,” Cameron said.
The president went on to say that “once that process is complete, a change management expert will be brought in to complete the process for a smooth transition.”
News of the financial status of the organisation is also steadying as Cameron reported to the shareholders that the WICB had a surplus of US$3.4 million as at September 30, 2015. This was gleaned from the financial statements audited by KPMG. Cameron was confident in revealing that the projections for the next four years indicate that the board will be able to cover costs for its domestic competitions and cricket programmes.
Coming up in 2017 – 2018, there will be a variety of home series in all formats and the bid documents have been sent to the governments of the region through the territorial boards for countries to indicate and commit to hosting. The feedback is due by the end of April.
“And once the commitments have been received, a comprehensive schedule will be released to the public,” Cameron added.
For the tri-nation series in June this year, the board is finalising commitments with Guyana, St. Kitts/Nevis and Barbados where the matches have already been assigned.
The West Indies will host Australia and South Africa for the entire month of June. Prior to that too the commercial and marketing team of the secretariat will host training and preparation sessions with the event teams from all the assigned countries.