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WICB retains noted lawyer as ‘advisor’ on Caricom proposal

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CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) – In the clearest sign yet it intends to resist the recommendations of Caricom’s Governance Review Panel, the West Indies Cricket Board says it has retained the services of Dominican lawyer Anthony Astaphan.

During its regular quarterly Directors meeting in Rodney Bay here Saturday, the WICB announced that Astaphan would serve as an “advisor to look at the recommendations for the Caricom final report on governance of cricket”.

Astaphan, a Senior Counsel and former president of the Bar Association of Dominica, delivered a presentation to directors during the morning session of the meeting on Saturday.

A WICB release quoted Astaphan as saying that the way forward “will look at how both organisations can work together for the benefit of the improvement of cricket on and off and the field.”

“A full paper will be prepared and will be available for presentation to the Prime Ministers’ committee,” the WICB said.
The move is a significant development especially following on the heels of a meeting between Caricom and the WICB in Grenada recently – the first between the two bodies following the release of the controversial Governance Report which has recommended the “immediate dissolution” of the WICB.

The report also calls for “the appointment of an interim board whose structure and composition would be radically different from the now proven, obsolete governance framework.”

Chairman of Caricom’s Cricket Governance Committee, Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell, said last month he was confident the WICB would get on board with the recommendations.

“Since they (WICB) were part of the process that agreed to set up this committee and to accept its recommendations and to implement it, I don’t see how they can afford to do otherwise,” Mitchell said at a press conference in St George’s to announce the recommendations of the report.

WICB president Dave Cameron has since expressed concerns about the involvement of governments in the affairs of the regional cricket body, stressing that it was important for sporting bodies to remain autonomous.

“We’re not saying we don’t want the Governments to participate. We’re saying that the decisions of the organisations must not be influenced by governments,” the Jamaican said last month.

The Governance Report Panel was chaired by UWI Cave Hill Campus principal, Professor Eudine Barriteau, and also comprised Sir Dennis Byron, president of the Caribbean Court of Justice; West Indies cricket legend Deryck Murray; Warren Smith, president of the Caribbean Development Bank, and Dwain Gill, president of the Grenada Cricket Association

IMAGE; Dave Cameron (file photo)

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Michael Holding slams West Indies Cricket Board as ‘dysfunctional’, ‘untrustworthy’ as board ignores calls for change

1450082603774By Andrew Wu From Sydney Morning Herald

Former Test great Michael Holding has issued a stinging public rebuke on the board governing West Indies cricket, labelling it as “dysfunctional” and “untrustworthy” and warned the game in the Caribbean will only deteriorate further if changes are not made.

While their players capitulated on the field in Hobart, the directors of the West Indies Cricket Board showed more defiance at their quarterly meeting in St Lucia to discuss the findings of a recent review into the governance of the game.

Fairfax Media understands the WICB will not accept the recommendation of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) report, which called for the immediate dissolution of the board, but have accepted some changes are needed.

The move does not come as a surprise but will anger many of the board’s critics, who feel it has played a large role in the startling decline of West Indies cricket.

The decision to retain the current board structure was foreshadowed by the announcement that leading Caribbean legal figure Anthony Astaphan would be used as an advisor to discuss the review by CARICOM’s cricket sub-committee.

Astaphan, who addressed the board on Saturday morning, stated in a WICB release the way forward “will look at how both organisations can work together for the benefit of the improvement of cricket on and off and the field”.

The governance structure of the WICB was labelled “antiquated”, “obsolete” and “anachronistic” by the CARICOM cricket sub-committee. There are 17 directors on the board, comprised of representatives from the 16 different nations which play under the West Indies banner.

One of the most feared fast bowlers of his time, Holding, known as Whispering Death for his graceful approach to the wicket, has slammed the board, saying he cannot see the situation improving without its removal.

“As for the state of West Indies cricket, that will only get worse as long as this current crop of board members remain there and the structure and culture remains the same,” Holding told Fairfax Media.

“You cannot have a healthy productive employee workforce while the employer is dysfunctional, untrustworthy and not liked by the employees.”

Holding is referring to the turbulent relationship between the board and the players, which hit a new low last year after the team abandoned the tour of India mid-series, leading to a massive lawsuit from the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

A taskforce appointed by the WICB to investigate the dispute said last December the board needed to “build pillars of trust with the players”. But weeks later selectors dumped then one-day international captain Dwayne Bravo and star all-rounder Kieron Pollard from the World Cup squad, which their lawyer believed was payback for their roles in the player strike. Their omissions were also labelled “ridiculous” by Chris Gayle.

The latest humiliation for the former cricket powerhouse came on the weekend when the eighth-ranked Windies were pummelled inside three days by Australia. They have now gone 29 Tests without a victory against a major Test-playing nation away from home – a streak stretching back to 2007.

While Twenty20 has been regarded as playing a big part in the Windies’ fall from grace in the Test arena, it has also been hailed as a potential saviour.

Former Windies great and current team manager Richie Richardson described the Caribbean Premier League, their version of the Big Bash, as being a “very good” development for the game in the region.

“It takes time, we’ll have to invest and believe in what we do and that once we do the right thing down the road it will make a massive change,” Richardson told Fairfax Media in February.

His view was echoed by Tom Moody, the former Australian international and Sri Lanka coach now serving as the director of cricket for the Caribbean Premier League.

“The format has captured the region’s imagination, which is no surprise given that the West Indies were T20 champions only three years ago and have a host of stars who dominate the leagues around the world,” Moody wrote in a column for The West Australian.

“Grassroots growth is vital for the West Indies to establish a blueprint for the future, which is why T20 could be the saviour for the sport.”

IMAGE: Scathing: West Indies great Michael Holding has been critical of the West Indies Cricket Board.

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