Former West Indies fast bowler Joel Garner, currently a director of the WICB, has questioned the CARICOM cricket review panel’s suggestion of dissolving the board and asking all its members to resign. Garner, who is also president of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), wondered how some members of the WICB could suddenly be called “illegal” when they were formed according to the individual constitutions of the region’s countries.
“My questions are: is the BCA, which was constituted by an act of parliament in 1933, an illegal entity and my selection as president of the BCA an illegal act?” Garner asked while speaking at the association’s quarterly meeting on Thursday. “So I have to ask the question: is the GCB [Guyana Cricket Board] an illegal entity? Is the Jamaica Cricket [Association] an illegal entity? Is the Leeward Islands Cricket Association an illegal entity? Is the Windward Islands Cricket Board an illegal entity? Is the TTCB [Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board] an illegal entity?
“If they are so, they have all been established in countries in which the prime ministers are making noise, and they have to tell the public of the region, if these entities are illegal, how they were able to remain vibrant for so long.”
The five-member CARICOM panel, comprising V. Eudine Barriteau, Sir Dennis Byron, Dwain Gill, Deryck Murray and Warren Smith, was appointed by the Prime Ministerial Committee on the Governance of West Indies Cricket in response to the crisis that engulfed the WICB after the BCCI suspended bilateral ties and slapped $41.97 million as damages following the West Indies team’s decision to pull out midway through their India tour in 2014. The panel concluded its report in October last year.
After extensive discussions and interviews with various stakeholders that included the management of the WICB , the CARICOM panel concluded that the governance structure of the board was obsolete. “There is an inherent and as yet unresolved tension between the evolution of the game of cricket into a powerful, professionally-driven entertainment and sporting industry and a system of governance predicated on an earlier, more simplified set of requirements,” the panel stated. “In this regard, the panel strongly recommends the immediate dissolution of the West Indies Cricket Board and the appointment of an Interim Board whose structure and composition will be radically different from the now proven obsolete governance framework. These two key measures are absolutely necessary in order to transform and modernize the governance, management, administration and the playing of the game.”
In its response, the WICB rejected the CARICOM panel’s report in January. According to WICB president Dave Cameron, the panel had not consulted either the six territorial boards – Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana, Leeward Islands and Windward Islands – or its directors, clubs, representatives and, hence, the panel’s findings were not supported by facts.
“This [lack of consultations] has caused or triggered findings and recommendations by the panel which are not supported by the facts. The panel made statements and conclusions related to the structure and governance of the WICB, while ignoring the sweeping structural and governance changes which have taken place at the WICB since 2002,” Cameron said.