Lawyers seeking fairness from CWI

Tony Astaphan SC, attorney-at-law for former Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Dave Cameron, has taken exception to the appearance of what he termed a diminished sense of “collective responsibility”, with respect to accusations levelled against his client in a recent audit report.

The financial report, which singled out Cameron for criticism on several occasions, was commissioned by the current CWI board and conducted by independent auditors Pannell Kerr Foster (PKF). Among other things, it raised concerns regarding an inadequate accounting system that enabled financial irregularities to go unreported.

Cameron’s legal team has already requested a copy of the contentious document, which has already been leaked. Astaphan was quick to point out that the structure of CWI remained a board of directors and all decisions were taken and approved at that level.

“If the auditor is in fact making so-called findings on matters that were dealt with by the board and they are so concerned about irregularities and abuses; the directors, including the present ones, from top to bottom, are going to have to come forward and explain their votes to the region and the shareholders,” Astaphan said recently on the Mason and Guest radio show.

“You can’t just decide to throw one man overboard and say well there goes Cameron swimming down the lagoon again. Collective responsibility is very important,” he added.

The lawyer strongly rejected the notion that the board members were bullied into voting by the former president, as was previously suggested.

“It was said that the directors were subservient, subservient, grown men, grown independent men, successful businessmen, politicians and all were subservient to Cameron, that is why they went along with the votes. As a Caribbean man I would consider that to be contemptuous of my position on the board.”

“There is an implication that there was this and that but everyone went along with Dave Cameron like the pied piper and the rats into the pond,” he said.

Last week in a letter sent by CWI chief executive officer Johnny Grave to attorney-at-law Loy Weste who is also acting on behalf of Cameron, Grave said the former CWI president was not entitled to a copy of the report. This, despite the allegations contained in the report and to which Cameron sought to respond.

“Please be advised that the report to which you refer is a private and confidential internal document which was prepared on the instruction and for Cricket West Indies (CWI). Moreover, you are well aware that your client is no longer a member of CWI, holds any position with CWI or has any affiliation with CWI. Accordingly, and based on the above, your client therefore cannot simply request and demand that CWI dispatch a confidential CWI report to you on his behalf,” Grave wrote.

However, responding to Grave, Weste questioned the “private and confidential” nature of the report that had already found its way into the hands of former West Indies fast bowler and cricket commentator Michael Holding. Holding read extracts from the report during a Youtube interview.

The attorney-at-law noted the report was clearly directed at Cameron and his reputation in a most insidious and damaging way. “Consequently, whether our client is a director of CWI or not is completely irrelevant,” Weste stated. He noted that Grave’s suggestion that he needed to consult with PKF and the CWI board regarding the request for a copy of the report was a “mere red herring”.

Weste said CWI president Ricky Skerritt and vice-president Dr Kishore Shallow had already publicly embraced the report and had suggested that it had been unanimously approved by the CWI Board.

This afternoon, Barbados TODAY sought comment on the situation from Barbados Cricket Association president and CWI director Conde Riley but he deferred a statement until later. Up to publication time that had not been forthcoming. (WG/SportsMax)

Photo: Former Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Dave Cameron

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