Guyana’s President lashes out at WICB Administrators

The Regional four-day cricket standard is arguably at an all-time low and the West Indies team, the longest surviving West Indian institution is struggling at the Test level after playing its first ever Test match in 1928 and Ramotar, in his first term of his four-year sojourn as Guyanese leader, hammered the cricket officials for what he feels, they seeming to care about more about perpetuating themselves at any cost than the importance of this institution.

Ramotar also spoke about the taking of key matches outside of the Region by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) which has been given the responsibility by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to aid in the development cricket in the Americas.

The two T20 Internationals between West Indies and New Zealand were played in Florida last Saturday and Sunday before the 50-over series begins today in Jamaica.

“As has been acknowledged before, strong regional institutions are indispensable to the success of our regional integration process and to the integrity of our regional identity.   How can we, half a century into our lives as independent nations, be content with reposing in Judges far removed from our regional and domestic realities, the right to be final arbiters in our justice system? Let us muster the political will to ensure that the intended jurisdictional boundaries of the Caribbean Court of Justice are realized.    To do otherwise would be consciously or unconsciously fostering doubt in our abilities.  This is not the time for that; it is a time to take these steps confidently,” Ramotar told the gathering.

“This brings me to that other great Caribbean institution – West Indies Cricket. It is more than just a game to us; it is the essence of regional pride and accomplishment even if those days might sometimes feel bygone, it has been the source of many serious academic and social works, the most famous being “Beyond the Boundary” by C L R James,” the Guyana President said.

Speaking in the home Island of the WICB President, Dr. Julian Hunte and its CEO Dr Earnest Hillaire, Ramotar reminded that Cricket is one of the first truly regional institutions that have fostered the confidence that we can successfully integrate.

“It (cricket) has given us heroes and role models and is perhaps the best emblem we have of our regional identity.  I know much has changed over time including the huge amounts of money involved in the sport.  It has fostered self-interest and even greed. Some administrators of the sport seem not to care about the importance of this institution but more about perpetuating themselves at any cost,” Ramotar added.

This year the West Indies versus Australia Test match scheduled for the Providence Stadium in Guyana was moved after a dispute involving the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) and the Guyana Government installed IMC (set up to oversea the running of cricket in Guyana for a six-month period due to allegations against the GCB) had attracted the attention of the WICB.

“Governments have invested millions of dollars in building facilities to enhance the game and to promote the growth of the sport.  However, today we face the abomination – key matches are now being taken out of the Region while some of our territories are deliberately deprived.   This must be of great concern to us.  West Indies Cricket is not the private property of some administrators but it is a regional public good,” the Guyanese politician lamented.

“We, while recognizing and respecting the autonomy of the sport, cannot be oblivious to the problems in the administration of the game.  We therefore call for the full implementation of the recommendations of the Patterson Commission,” Ramotar continued during his presentation yesterday.

Hunte said recently that the majority of recommendations in the Patterson Report (Governance Report) have been embraced by the Board – and have either been or are being implemented.

The WICB President had said this fact is consistently overlooked, despite it being stated publicly and in meetings with CARICOM’s Prime Ministerial Sub Committee on Cricket. Reporting to the latter organisation last November 12th, the WICB had pointed out that action had been or was being taken on “approximately 47 of the 65 recommendations”.

These include commissioning a management audit by a private firm; establishing the basis for implementing a cricket academy at UWI, Cave Hill; securing commitment from Antigua & Barbuda, Guyana, Dominica, St. Kitts & Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago to set up satellite academies; establishing an umpires elite panel; agreeing a new comprehensive Memorandum of Agreement with the West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA); fully integrating women’s cricket into the WICB structure, and committing US$4 million from its 2009 budget towards development
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