President of the Barbados Cricket Association and director of Cricket West Indies, Conde Riley, is calling on CARICOM governments to explain what they mean by adopting a legislative approach to the governance of West Indies cricket.
In February at their two-day inter-sessional meeting in Haiti, CARICOM leaders said a legislative approach was required if West Indies cricket was to be turned around and best practices of governance achieved.
“I have never disrespected any of the leaders but I want to know what they mean by legislative changes. When I travel to some of the islands in the region and I see the cricket plants in some of those countries, I wonder what they are speaking about in terms of Cricket West Indies. Let them restructure the game in some of their islands rather than focus all of their time on Cricket West Indies. Let us work together and create the framework that would develop the young cricketers in those islands. Let us bind together in an attempt to make West Indies cricket strong again, this is the path we should be taking,” Riley told Barbados TODAY in an interview.
He added: “There are those in the region who are prepared to cast aspersions on Cricket West Indies, on the finances of Cricket West Indies, even though we have an external and internal audit. They are always willing to suggest that there is something wrong with West Indies cricket. It angers me when I hear prime ministers speak about Cricket West Indies disparagingly when under the noses of some of them there is corruption. I have no respect for those kinds of comments.”
Riley said regional leaders were elected and paid salaries by the public in their respective countries to govern, and therefore they could change laws. However, he added that the directors of the board of Cricket West Indies gave their time freely, and to them serving cricket was a labour of love.
“We serve this game because we love it and are aware of the huge role it plays in the development of our young people. Some of us are retired, we believe we owe it to the people of the region to give back to the region by serving the game of cricket. When I hear prime ministers who under their noses and eyes, their countries decay and they are being paid large salaries and perks and they try to cast aspersions on the character of the directors of Cricket West Indies who are willing give of their time for the development of West Indies’ cricket, I become very angry,” the retired investment banker said.
Riley stressed there were only a few prime ministers in the region who were trying to overthrow the board of the Cricket West Indies which was democratically elected and not selected.
“I suppose what they are trying to do is to remove an elected board and put in place one that is selected by them. If they can legally get that done well I wish them well, but I would say to them, pay more attention to the cricket plant within your islands, let us work together to make the game of cricketer better,” Riley said.
Last month, the International Cricket Council (ICC) told the prime ministers of CARICOM that Dave Cameron, the president of Cricket West Indies, would have to attend a meeting they had proposed between the two bodies. At that time Prime Minister of St Vincent Dr Ralph Gonsalves, the chairman of the Prime Minister’s subcommittee on cricket, told the media the proposed talks with the ICC were intended to be an open meeting and he expected Cameron to be there.
The meeting which was hoped to have taken place when the prime ministers were in London for the Heads of the Commonwealth meeting never materialised because of a scheduling conflict. Gonsalves told the media the rescheduling of the meeting would not prevent CARICOM from continuing to lay the foundation for the implementation of a new governance structure for West Indies cricket.
“A few days ago, I spoke to CARICOM Secretary General Irwin La Rocque and we discussed the question of getting the consultants who provide a broad framework through the legislation, due to be passed in our respective countries, so we are proceeding with our work,” Gonsalves said then.
Riley told Barbados TODAY that the recent creation of the West Indies Cricket Foundation under the chairmanship of former prime minister of Barbados Owen Arthur would add a new dynamic to the sport in the region.
“It will bring together a set of wiser heads. This Foundation will assist in our transparency, the funding of our grassroots programme and things of that nature. If former prime minister Arthur brings half of the vision to the foundation that he brought to the leadership of Barbados during his tenure as prime minister then we are in for a dynamic time,” Riley said.
He explained that Arthur was chosen to chair the foundation because of his experience and track record as prime minister of Barbados and said he would bring great credibility to the post.