PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad –– CARICOM is actively pursuing legal advice in its ongoing battle with the West Indies Cricket Board, as it ups the ante in its quest to have the controversial recommendations of its Governance Review report implemented.
A Caricom-commissioned investigative panel, headed by UWI Cave Hill Principal Professor Eudine Barriteau, last November recommended the “immediate dissolution” of the WICB –– a proposal which has since been rejected by the embattled board as an “unnecessary and intrusive demand”.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said today, however, even though the WICB had taken a hard line stance against Caricom, the regional prime-ministerial grouping did not intend to back down, and was pursuing other avenues.
“There’s been no change. The West Indies Cricket Board has taken the position that they faced down Prime Minister Patterson and the Patterson Report, they have now faced down Prime Minister [Keith] Mitchell and the Caricom Sub-Committee and now the Board has made it quite clear that they won’t cooperate with any attempt to reform themselves and to try and save West Indies cricket,” Rowley said on TV6’s Morning Edition.
“The board has taken a position that ‘we are going to operate and you have no business dabbling in our business’ and that position of the board has a little caveat –– except that ‘we want to use all your facilities . . . but we will determine what goes on’.”
Rowley added: “CARICOM took another decision which hasn’t been making the news and it is this: they have asked the CARICOM Secretariat to get legal advice and support to determine what is the legal position with this product called West Indies cricket.
“Because now that the board is behaving in that way –– virtually telling the governments of the region to go to hell –– the question arises with the people of the Caribbean, what is West Indies cricket? And how did this board get this product which they are marketing now and is being so bombastic in talking to the region’s leaders?
“That’s where the issue is now because it is clear to us now and it should be to all of us in Caricom, that the board will not cooperate with anything.”
Following its Intersessional meeting in Belize last month, Caricom reiterated its resolve to ensure the recommendations of the report were implemented, and also indicated it would be taking its fight to the International Cricket Council and other international bodies.
In its response to this development, the WICB reiterated its stance against Caricom’s position following its Annual General Meeting in Kingston earlier this month, with the member boards signing a statement of opposition which was subsequently issued in a media release.
Rowley said in light of the WICB’s recent defiance, Caricom needed to clarify the basis of the power being wielded by the board but assured there would be no “walking away from the problem”.
“We can’t go and tell Massy or tell Ansa McAl what they should do with their board and so on because we know what Ansa McAl is, we know what Massy is,” Rowley argued.
“What we really don’t know and what is not clear . . . is what is the product called West Indies cricket and why is it the heads [of Government] could be saying ‘so and so should happen’ and a handful of individuals incorporating themselves saying ‘no it can’t happen’, so we need to know now what is West Indies cricket.”
He added: “If any action [against the WICB] is possible, then one needs to know what is the basis for the action and whether we like it or not, cricket is important in the region and will remain an important conversation.”
And while there has been speculation Caricom would deny the WICB use of stadia across the region for upcoming tours, Rowley said there was no immediate action on the table.
“I don’t [see a solution] at this stage but I do not also see us walking away from the problem. When we meet in July in Guyana, the issue of the response from the board will come up again.”