President of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Anand Sanasie has taken umbrage at remarks made by Cricket West Indies (CWI) presidential candidate, Ricky Skerritt, who criticized the GCB for not giving him a chance to make his case as to why he should be the next president of the CWI.
Sanasie, who is also a director of the CWI, was also critical of Skerritt’s 10-point plan, which he said offered nothing new.
Skerritt, who hopes to unseat Dave Cameron, who has been president since 2013, had written a letter to the GCB seeking an audience but, according to Sanasie, the tone of the letter was unfortunate.
“We are also aware that the GCB is providing unwavering support to CWI President Cameron and Vice-President [Emmanuel] Nanthan, even in the midst of various controversial decisions,” Skerritt’s letter stated.
“We have therefore been warned by several cricket pundits that we would be wasting our time if we tried to earn votes from the GCB for the leadership bids.”
In response, Sanasie told Stabroek News, “You are insulting me by telling me all of this and then telling me you are seeking support,” he declared.
“The GCB at its General Meeting on January 20th took a decision to support the incumbent.”
He said at the time of the vote there were no challengers, adding that neither Skerritt nor his running mate Dr Kishore Shallow had any conversations with him or any other director about making a bid for the presidency.
“The irony is that we received a letter to give a hearing,” Sanasie said.
Sanasie told the Guyanese newspaper that the decision to support Cameron was based solely on his track record as president of the CWI.
“We can safely say cricket in Guyana has progressed under the leadership of Cameron but that aside, the setting up of the PCL [Professional Cricket League] is a legacy that Cameron has created and has really enhanced cricket development in the region,” said Sanasie.
He said that the recently concluded West Indies Championships is evidence of the progress being made under Cameron’s watch. The Guyana Jaguars, he said, were hard-pressed to retain their title with strong performances from Leeward Islands Hurricanes.
“In our mind, we think Mr. Cameron during his time has been very beneficial to the GCB,” Sanasie said.
“We have won the PCL for five years, the PCL was something he brought in and Guyana Jaguars have won it all five times, 105 cricketers have a salary across the region and CWI has acquired its own facility at the Coolidge Cricket Ground,” he said.
Cameron, Sanasie said, also made it possible for the GCB to acquire its own facility, something that previous presidents had failed to accomplish even after Sagicor had pulled the sponsorship of the High-Performance Centre.
When it comes to Skerritt’s 10-point plan, Sanasie was not impressed.
“The 10-point plan, nine of the points are currently happening and you are telling me you are going to improve on them but there is no need for us to change who has put those in place and generally we don’t see the need for change at this time,” he said.
Sanasie also questioned whether Skerritt and Dr Shallow were experienced enough to lead Cricket West Indies into the future. He said it was absurd for Skerritt and Kishore, who has not yet completed a term as a CWI Director, to want to be at the helm of the board with little to no experience.
In the initial stages of his campaign, Skerritt accused the CWI of spending too much money on the president. However, Sanasie poured cold water on the assertion saying Cameron had been afforded the same luxuries as past presidents.
Sanasie said Cameron had been more proactive in the management of West Indies cricket.
Sanasie suggested that Skerritt did not seem to have a problem with Cameron’s leadership of CWI until he was appointed by CARICOM as their representative.
He also suggested that there might be some political influence behind Skerritt’s challenge to the incumbents.
Grenada Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell and St Vincent and the Grenadines leader Dr Ralph Gonsalves have been among Cameron’s staunchest critics but Sanasie suggested that the CARICOM leaders should leave matters concerning cricket to those elected to do so.
“My take on it is that CARICOM has their work to do. I would say respectfully, yes, it is a public good, yes, it is being run across the region and like most sporting organisations, we answer to an international body and comply with their structure,” he said. “And, while you have to be accountable, the international community does not look good on political interference and they have to be very careful how they go about doing that but you cannot co-mingle with politics so that you end up with Prime Ministers picking the squad, you can make decisions, advise, assist,” he said.