Cricket West Indies (CWI) is becoming a “Cameron-centric organization” and less of a cricket-centric entity. That’s the view of Ricky Skerritt who is challenging Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron for the post of president of the governing body of cricket in the region.
In an address last night to a gathering of cricket administrators, stakeholders and fans at the Errol Barrow Centre For Creative Imagination, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Skerritt said he and his running mate Dr Kishore Shallow had prepared a ten-point plan they believed could become the guide for the pathway forward for West Indies cricket along with inputs from stakeholders across the region.
“I am sure that we can fine-tune this plan to even more simple language to ensure that the C in CWI actually stands for the word cricket. Sadly, it has been my experience that CWI is rapidly becoming more of a Cameron-centric organization and less of a cricket-centric organization. Now, what do we mean when we say that CWI is becoming Cameron-centric? This is not disrespect for Cameron. I am simply speaking the truth. In short, it means the needs and fancy of Cameron have become bigger and more important than our cricketers and various indicators have shown me that the politics of survival in the office of the president matters more to him at this time than our cricket.
“Other indicators tell me cricket matters less than the president entertaining and traveling. The performance of the elite teams matters only when they win, and the answer to losing a series is to fire the coaches no matter what are the financial implications,” Skerritt told the audience that included vice-president of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Calvin Hope, Board members Timothy Boyce, E. Betty Lewis Browne and Ignatius Marshall, former president E.K. “Tony” Marshall, ex-Barbados captains Philo Wallace and Kirk Edwards, Steven Leslie, the director of cricket at the BCA and Edison James who served as Prime Minister of Dominica from 1995 to 2000.
Skerritt, who is an independent director of CWI, said he wanted to make it absolutely clear that his principal reason for seeking the presidency of CWI was to help find sustainable solutions to the challenges facing West Indies cricket.
He charged that under Cameron’s tenure as leader of CWI, Increasing the peril was more urgent than rebuilding relationships with the stakeholders, and relationships only mattered with those who said “yes” and agreed with Cameron.
“Those who doubt and question Cameron’s decisions quickly become enemies of CWI. In the Cameron-centric culture governance only matters when it can be sidestepped and power is only useful when it can be sidestepped beyond that mandate of articles of association,” the former manager of the West Indies cricket team said.
Skerritt, a past tourism minister in St Kitts and Nevis said his purpose for making the presentation was not to attack Cameron but to put forward positive ideas to take West Indies cricket forward beyond March 24 – the day of the election. He listed some of the ideas he and Shallow were articulating to chart a new path for cricket.
Among them are the creation of a cricket-centered culture, optimum use of technology for greater effectiveness, an increase in grassroots cricket, the enhancement of the franchise system, modernization of coaching education, increased exposure for the Under-19 and Under-23 players, reevaluation of the system of team selections and the reparation of stakeholder relations.
Shallow said the opportunity for he and Skerritt to make their presentation to the BCA came about after initial rejection but had turned out to be a blessing in disguise because rather than addressing just nine members of the BCA’s board, they were now speaking to a cross section of the Barbadian public and several persons around the world via the live stream.
The election to choose a president and vice-president of CWI takes place in Jamaica this month-end. Skerritt and Shallow will battle for the two top positions in West Indies cricket against Cameron and current vice-president of CWI Emmanuel Nanthan of Dominica.
Cameron has already garnered the support of the BCA board, as well as those of the Windward Islands and Guyana in the lead-up to the elections, while the boards of Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Islands are throwing their support behind Skerritt and Shallow. The direction of the vote of the Jamaica board is not known but could prove critical to the outcome of the election. The Jamaica board is headed by president Billy Heaven who reportedly has not always seen ‘eye to eye’ with Cameron.