The notion that the University of the West Indies (UWI) has an agenda to take over the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) is very far from the truth, says Amanda Reifer who is a contender for the position of BCA secretary at the 17th Special Meeting scheduled for August 14 at Kensington Oval.
The head of the Academy of Sport at UWI, Reifer said there needs to be harmony and a better understanding in terms of the BCA, UWI relations, so that opportunities which exist can be maximised.
“I want to address the misconception that the University of the West Indies is utilising its staff, [or] it has an agenda to take over Barbados cricket. Nothing could be further from the truth. I believe that it is important we separate the two things – the UWI Blackbirds Cricket Club and the University of the West Indies, the regional institution whose mandate is to serve the people and institutions of the region,” she said.
According to the sports administrator, UWI has a memorandum of understanding with the Barbados Football Association but tried and failed to secure one with the BCA.
She explained that many of the top cricketing teams around the world such as India, England, Australia and South Africa are successful because they have established a partnership with universities in their countries.
“When we speak about a relationship with the University of the West Indies and the BCA, in my capacity as head of this academy, I have spent the last five years trying to establish an MOU [memorandum of understanding] with the Barbados Cricket Association. We have an MOU with the Barbados Football Association, CONCACAF, FIFA, CFU [Caribbean Football Union]. From a University, BCA standpoint, why have we been promoting that? Because the University in itself again understands the historical value, the social impact of cricket.
“Our professor Sir Hillary Beckles has written extensively on cricket in the Caribbean. So, cricket is embedded, and we are here to serve the BCA, we are here to see how we can lend support from a resource standpoint. We have the faculty of social sciences in terms of financial planning, marketing experts, economists. From the faculty of sports, we have lecturers in various areas, and we have projects working in sports science and biomechanics that we could work with the BCA in terms of their own Center of Excellence. So, I am saying every institution in the cricketing world has aligned itself with a university. Why have we not been able to forge that relation, and I think a lot of it has stemmed from politics? And that has gotten in the way of true development and true collaboration that could have been meaningful, and that could have helped clubs,” Reifer said.