A strategic focus, new ideas and way of thinking are what national sports administrator Amanda Reifer intends to pilot once elected as secretary of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA).
Reifer, the head of the Academy of Sport, University of the West Indies, has for the first time thrown her hat in the ring to run for the positions of secretary and floor member at the 17th BCA Special Meeting scheduled for August 14th at Kensington Oval.
The wife of interim West Indies coach Floyd Reifer, the 38-year-old wished her opponents attorney-at-law Greggory Nicholls, the current secretary in the Conde Riley-led association, and Anthea Ishmael who once held the position, all the best in the upcoming elections.
Reifer identified herself as a team player, implementer and one who targets success. Based on those qualities, she plans to put forward a strong case to the membership as to why she should be elected. She does not have any intentions of being a passive passenger on the cricket train as she aims to contribute ideas that could take the BCA towards a strategic direction with its financial approach and club structure.
“The strategic direction and vision of the Barbados Cricket Association, I am not entirely clear on what that is, I don’t even think people have articulated really where the BCA is going from a strategic standpoint. And as you know everything stems from the vision, so the goals and objectives and everybody’s role within the secretariat and even the board’s remit and mandate should be aligned to the strategic vision, purpose and mission. So, I believe from a strategic standpoint, I would be addressing that because that dictates everything else that we do.
“The other thing I plan to address is the financial resources and the use of financial resources. And I would move for a complete review and evaluation of the financials of the BCA to determine whether those finances are prioritised in the areas that are cricket development and cricket focus. Often when there are limited resources, we may expend in areas you could do without and divert into more meaningful impactful areas.
“For example, what you spend in catering or hospitality, those are examples that you may divert some of those funds in other ways – I would think cricket development focus. So a complete review and overhaul with the financial controller, the members of the board and the finance committee. Are we spending the money, the resources of the BCA, in the best areas?
“We have to rebuild the club structure, and I am talking all clubs, not just elite and first division. I am talking about BCL [Barbados Cricket League], division two, intermediate and not to mention the Under-15 and 17, the junior programmes coming up. The structure has to be addressed, and it has to start with taking the clubs seriously. Take for example, the BCA pays for balls and umpires, yes, that helps the clubs’ financial position but is that helping the financial structure or the health of the club when you pay for certain things? No, we need to drill deeper, we need to fix what is happening there but first by seriously engaging the clubs. Bringing them [clubs] in and not just hearing what they say and then you hear them next year. Seriously, taking two, three ideas from the clubs and implementing it and moving in the right direction. I am very passionate and serious about that,” Reifer said.
The 2016 Alvin Burgess Award winner in the area of sports administration drove home her point about the need for a strategic direction coupled with new financial approach by questioning the BCA’s failure to utilise land given to the governing body 20 years ago.
“The BCA has land up in Wildey for over twenty years and have done nothing with it. That is a travesty in itself. As I said before, there are financial models you can use when you have an asset to develop it. There is no reason why we should not have some drawing and a shell of an indoor facility. I have travelled all over the world, I have seen high-performance centres, and people are very resourceful. Everything doesn’t have to be brick and mortar, so they are using different materials to create these indoors centres, so that the clubs when it gets dark at five-thirty they have a place they can book and work on their game. These are the things that have to be implemented, and there is no reason why these things should not be in place after twenty years,” she said.
Gender sensitivity to cricket is another essential aspect of the game Reifer intends to tackle. She explained that the time has come for women to be given equal opportunities and be seen as a whole part when it comes to sports.
“Even though I am a woman, sometimes I have to guard against being boxed into this, ‘oh, I am representing women because I am a woman’. I am representing cricketers, I am representing the sport, and sometimes I have to take measures [while] being lumped in. I think the time has come for us not even to have to pull out ‘women in sports’ when we are discussing sports. We have to get past that. We have to see it as games of which women constitute,” she said.