There was no changing of the guard when the special 17th meeting for members of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) took place at Kensington Oval last night.
Conde Riley remained at the helm of the organisation after thwarting former Barbados and West Indies fast Joel Garner’s bid to regain the office he held for ten consecutive years before giving it up two years ago to accept the post of manager of the West Indies team.
Riley polled 198 votes to Garner’s 112 to register a resounding victory over the legendary cricketer who before last night had never lost a race for the top post in the BCA.
Riley said while some people chose to label the contest for the presidency as “Garner versus Riley”, he never saw it that way even though he was not surprise that Garner entered the race for the presidency.
“I ran against Joel in 2013 and 2015 and lost. I came back to the Board in 2014 and I worked with Joel. I have a lot of respect for him as friend. We have been friends since 1967. I had no problem with him coming to run because I ran against him. I know I can call on Joel to help us with our fast bowlers because he has vast experience in that area. We are friends and we will always be friends,” Riley told journalists.
The president attributed his success to being given the opportunity to lead the BCA and to solve two issues that were the subject of qualified opinions by the auditors.
“The $15 million debt by Kensington Development Corporation and to bring CAGE to the table along with the Government to work out a settlement, that was the significant difference in the two years,” Riley said.
Riley stated he would like to groom some of the younger cricketers and members to take over from him. Riley pointed out he has been severing on the Board since 1996 with the exception of a break between 2013 and 14.
“I don’t want to overstay my time, I have some young cricketers such as Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw who serve on committees and Gregory Nicholls who in addition to being secretary, chairs two committees on the Board. Those gentlemen along with some of our younger members should soon be setting the policy of the Board, I will not overstay my time,” Riley stressed.
The newly elected president who within the last couple of months has made several stinging comments about Cricket West Indies of which he is a director, emphatically pledged his commitment to West Indies cricket.
“I am not only committed to Barbados cricket but to West Indies cricket and Mr Skerritt is aware of that. This is about closing ranks and ensuring we work for the development of West Indies cricket. I am prepared to work with the president of Cricket West Indies. I would love to assist the Windward Islands and Leeward Islands with their cricket. I would like to sit down with the Boards in these islands and discuss our development plan,” he said.
Gregory Nicholls easily brushed aside the challenge from Anthea Ishmael and newcomer Amanda Reifer in the race for the post of secretary. The attorney-at- law polled 195 votes while Ishmael, the first female secretary of the Board, received 43 votes, and 53 members voted for Reifer.
The three outgoing directors Winston Stafford (146 votes), Timothy Boyce (119 votes) and Roland Butcher (115 votes) were re-elected to the Board.
“Personally I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve as secretary of the BCA for the next two years. The results of the elections were a very convincing mandate given to the current Board. The BCA has done a lot of work in the last two years and I think the members recognised what we have gone through over a period and have given their verdict. I would like to say thanks to all of the clubs, members and supporters who voted to give us the overwhelming mandate to continue as a Board. The members of the Board have not changed and I think that is as a result of the trust our membership have in the executive that has performed strongly. We are the only professional unit in the region and everybody looks to Barbados for leadership throughout the cricket community. We cannot divide ourselves. The members being sophisticated and understanding leadership, have made a conscious decision to return all of the directors to Board and validate the work that we have done,” Nicholls told Barbados TODAY.
Several prominent Barbadians cast their vote, among them were National Hero Sir Garfield Sobers, cricket knights Sir Wesley Hall, Sir Charles Griffith and Sir Everton Weekes. President of the Senate Sir Richard Cheltenham, Justice Randall Worrell, Dr Adrian Lorde, former Test cricketers Desmond Haynes, Richard Edwards, Vasbert Drakes and Tino Best, along with government minister Ronald Toppin.