Not only should Conde Riley be returned as president of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), Gregory Nicholls adds that there is no reason to resort to the leadership of former president Joel Garner.
That was the forthright verdict of the BCA general secretary, as he gave a ringing endorsement of Riley’s two-year tenure at the helm, while outlining several achievements of the incumbent president. Riley and Garner will be vying for the BCA presidency during the August 29 elections at the 17th special meeting of the membership.
Nicholls told Barbados TODAY he was absolutely sure that the right person to lead the BCA was already on the job. He added that Garner, a cricketing legend, already had his time
“The right man to head the BCA is running it right now. Mr Garner has had his time. He has done ten years as the president of the organization and when he retired from the position two years ago, the man who assisted him the most during his time in charge was elected to the post. When Mr Garner was away on duty as manager of the West Indies cricket team, he had a man here in Barbados who first as vice-president and then later as chairman of the Cricket Development Committee assisted him. Conde Riley set up the Sir Everton Weekes Centre of Excellence Development Plan that has driven Barbados’ cricket forward.
“We have six players in the West Indies Under-19 squad that has been retained at the end of the regional Under-19 tournament to prepare for the ICC Cricket Youth World Cup. We have six players in the West Indies’ senior men’s team, the same number in the women’s team. Barbados’ cricket is moving forward. Mr Riley deserves the opportunity to be re-elected because he has worked hard and faithfully for cricket in Barbados. There is no reason for Mr Garner to come back just because a couple people in Barbados sitting down at home may not like Mr Riley,” Nicholls said.
Nicholls reasoned that on a scale of one to ten he would give the Riley-led administration 8.5. He noted that the BCA was richer today than when the planter and merchant class ran cricket in Barbados.
“We have been giving our cricketers contracts. At the Centre of Excellence we have a system for the development of young cricketers from the Under-13 to Under-19 levels. We are doing well. We have won the regional Under-19 and Under-17 competitions this year. We won the Under-15 tournament back to back in 2017 and 2018. Our women won the 50-overs and Twenty20 titles this year. Our cricket is doing well, it is well funded, it is well managed and well regulated,” the attorney-at-law stressed.
Nicholls, who was re-elected to the BCA’s executive in 2017 after serving as a director for six years previously, said the two years he served during Riley’ tenure as president have been a more productive period for the BCA than the three terms he served in the past.
“This two-year term that I have served has been more fruitful for the BCA in my view than my previous six years on the board between 2007 to 2013. Last week we signed a new agreement with our lottery operator GAGE that will pump $8 million into all of the other sporting organizations in Barbados. Over the last two years we have locked horns, we have not always agreed but the parties have created a platform aided by the regulatory framework that the government has put in place for the lottery and gaming sectors and under this regime we have been able to hammer out a twenty-year agreement which is going to bring some significant resources into the BCA and sports and culture generally,” Nicholls explained.
He stated that another major achievement under the Riley-led administration was that there have been no disputes in any of the competitions held under the auspices of the BCA this year.
“What we did at the start of the season was to set up a new complaints and disputes mechanism where the BCA would not end up in court every time a match ended in a dispute and the clubs involved did not like the outcome of the umpires or the match referees and the BCA’s adjudication process. And the BCA is then put in court by one of the clubs and the competition cannot continue to semifinal or final stage. This is what happened last year. So what we did is to put in place a new system of arbitration into the regulations of the BCA. As result, this season we have not had one single dispute and our competitions have all gone smoothly so far. In my view, this has been one of the silent but more significant aspects of what I have done in my other capacity as chairman of the Legal Affairs and Governance Committee of the BCA,” the general secretary explained.
Among the projects Nicholls said he would like to see implemented by the BCA over the next two years were the completion of the indoor facility in the old bond at Kensington Oval and the building of an indoor facility at Widley.
He said government had earmarked from Batts Rock down to the South Coast as a place for special development and that he would like to see the development of the commercial spaces around Kensington Oval as part of that special area. “The revenue generated from the commercial activities such as shops, bars, coffee shops, craft shops, around Kensington, would help sustain the development of the Oval and maintain it as a premier sports facility,” Nicholls said.