(CMC) — Not for the first time, a governance report has urged Cricket West Indies (CWI) to undertake “comprehensive reform”, and has recommended a restructuring of its board to achieve greater efficiency in managing the sport across the region.
The Independent Task Force for Corporate Governance, headed by Jamaican businessman and Senator Don Wehby, this week submitted its final 36-page report to the regional governing body, which has called for a reduction in the size of the board and a greater diversity in gender and skillset in its composition.
Further, the report has also proposed a redefinition of the roles of the president and vice-president to make them more “non-executive” and has mooted a drastic reduction in internal committees in an aim to address the old bureaucratic structure.
CWI President Ricky Skerritt, whose administration commissioned the report after coming to office last year, said it was now in the hands of directors but hoped to see its ultimate implementation.
“Governance reform is one of the important promises vice president Kishore Shallow and myself made prior to our election last year,” Skerritt said.
“When all is said and done, we expect that the Wehby Report will be seriously considered by the directors and member representatives. The task force and stakeholders can be assured that we will do all we can to ensure the implementation of this report.”
University of the West Indies vice-chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, along with former West Indies vice-captain Deryck Murray, Jamaican businessman OK Melhado and prominent Caribbean lawyer, Charles Wilkin, QC, comprised the task force which “drew from a wide cross section of expertise from knowledgeable stakeholders in the West Indies as well as in the global game.”
While praising CWI for having the vision to commission the project, Wehby said he believed once the recommendations were implemented, they would enhance the body’s governance capabilities.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of my Task Force for their selfless dedication to the completion of this project, over the past year,” Wehby said.
“Their time, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, has made the finalisation of this report a reality. We would also like to commend CWI President Ricky Skerritt and his Board of Directors for seeing the need for governance reform and giving us the opportunity to make a contribution to the sport we love, and for which we wish the utmost best.”
He added: “Our Task Force has met formally sixteen times over the period and we have spent many hours preparing the report submitted. We are positive that, if implemented, the recommendations of the Wehby Report will improve the governance of CWI and result in positive effects on team performance.”
The report calls for reform of the governance structure “using key principles of modern governance to provide greater accountability and transparency” and also takes aim at the size of the board of directors, making the case for “a smaller and more balanced board of 12 … with an eventual reducing to nine including at least two women.”
Currently, the 18-member board includes only one woman – Trinidadian attorney Debra Coryat-Patton.
The report has also recommended the formation of a nominations committee to “identify and evaluate potential directors and to nominate future directors and committee members” and a slashing of the current committee structure from 12 to five.
“The principal roles and responsibilities of the Board are organisational and financial planning and reporting, decisions on investments and capital projects, preserving the assets of the company, establishing policy, selecting the executive, general oversight of the executive and exercising other powers given to it by the constituent documents of the company,” the report said.
“The membership of the Board should reflect a wide cross section of the skills and competencies required for carrying out its roles and responsibilities.”
The report is not the first of its kind, however. The 139-page Patterson Report of 2007, authored by distinguished former Jamaica prime minister PJ Patterson, called for the then West Indies Cricket Board to give way to a “more representative body” and urged the creation of a West Indies Cricket Commission to enable better governance.
Wilkins then chaired another governance review in 2012 while a CARICOM-commissioned panel, headed by UWI Cave Hill principal, Professor Eudine Barriteau, in 2015 famously labelled the board as “anachronistic, antiquated and obsolete” while recommending “its immediate dissolution”.