The West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) is the official player representative body for cricketers in the West Indies, and is an affiliate of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (FICA).
As the exclusive representative and bargaining agent of players selected for national and West Indies teams, WIPA is the authorized and collective voice of all West Indian players, past and present. WIPA’s goals consist of; seeking better remuneration for players; seeking player welfare and interests to prepare them for a life after cricket; providing players with advice, assistance and services where appropriate; having players involved in community activities, training, and leadership in the areas of financial management, communication and industrial relations; and promoting a positive and harmonious relationship with the WICB and other stakeholders.
WIPA was established in 1973, and incorporated on March 19, 2003 under the Companies Act of Trinidad and Tobago 1995. The association was established during a visit to the United Kingdom by the then West Indies cricket team. Sir Garfield Sobers, Lance Gibbs, Rohan Kanhai (captain), and Deryck Murray comprised the earliest committee members, with the latter two serving as the initial President and Secretary, respectively. Since then, there have been numerous players who served as WIPA Presidents, Rohan Kanhai, Courtney Walsh, Dinanath Ramnarine and Wavell Hinds.
The raison d’etre for its establishment has been to serve as the West Indian players’ representative body. WIPA was established in an era when territories were still under British rule, and cricket, like other institutions, was managed and controlled by the plantocracy and the ruling “white” class. The then cricket board administration saw the emergence of this unionized body of cricketers as an attempt to whittle down the monopoly it exercised over the players. As such, there were veiled threats to players contemplating joining the body. Players were indirectly told that joining the body would mean jeopardizing their position as players, with the possible consequence of being ‘dropped’ from the team. Nevertheless, players recognized the need for a body that would serve players interests and well being and soldiered on.
Today & The Way Forward
WIPA welcomes the endorsement of renowned West Indies player and former President of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Rev. Wesley Hall, concerning the need to set relations between players and the WICB on an industrial relations platform. The association has sought to ensure that this is enshrined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), initiated during the tenure of former WIPA President Dinanath Ramnarine and Vice President Wavell Hinds (now President). The stewardship of Ramnarine and Hinds marks the halcyon days for the players’ association and the WICB. However, WIPA maintains stern positions on matters relating to the welfare of players.
WIPA places great emphasis on governance because only when governance improves, will West Indies cricket improve. The association therefore looks forward to continuing its harmonious relationship with the WICB and other stakeholders. There is much to be done by working jointly as far opportunities and challenges present themselves. We are now at a pivotal juncture in the life of the sport, and it will require a collaborative effort from all parties involved to treat with the business opportunities cricket now offers; the role of cricket in the development and growth of the region’s tourism and economy; and various matters arising from the introduction of newer formats of the game. There must be the recognition by all that sport is big business, that cricket is big business, and that we, with our unique talents, athleticism, flare and diverse culture, must seize the occasion to take advantage of this potential.
Our present Executive Board of Directors, committed to the task of the development of West Indies Cricket comprises
- President – Wavell Hinds
- Vice President – Nixon McLean
- Honourary Secretary – Wayne Lewis
- Honourary Treasurer – Ridley Jacobs
- Honourary Assistant Secretary – Liam Sebastien
The head office for the West Indies Players’ Association is located in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The satellite office is located in Kingston, Jamaica. The dedicated staff are:
- Chief Executive Officer – Wavell Hinds
- E.A. to the CEO and Office Manager – Marla Seedansingh
- Public Relations Manager – Gabrielle Nain
- Legal Research and Communications Officer – Simone Seedansingh
- Programme Manager for WIPA in the Community- Mark Ramkissoon
The Player Development & Welfare Programme (PDWP) is a personalised support service that recognizes the need for players to actively work toward their personal development. The aim of this programme is to assist our members in managing the competing demands on and off the pitch. We provide players (male and female) with guidance on how to maximise their cricketing focus whilst also fulfilling other important commitments including education, career, family and friendships, among other things.
WIPA in the Community (WIC) is a cricket development program implemented by The West Indies Players Association (WIPA) in the South West Peninsula of the island of Trinidad. Currently, the programme involves 24 schools (both primary and secondary) with a total of over 2000 students from La Brea, Point Fortin all the way to Icacos. WIC also emphasize Core Values/Life Skills throughout the program such as honesty, discipline, teamwork etc.