BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – A productive recent meeting with the International Cricket Council’s chief executive, Dave Richardson, has left chairman of CARICOM’s subcommittee on cricket, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, hopeful that Cricket West Indies (CWI) governance reform can he pushed through in the near future.
Gonsalves met with Richardson on the sidelines of the recent ICC board meeting in Dubai, laying out CARICOM’s concerns about the current CWI structure and also articulating the restructuring process that needed to be undertaken.
“The ICC appreciated that I came to talk to them,” the veteran St Vincent and the Grenadines leader said.
“They agree also that you can’t have a board being in a hostile relationship with governments or several of the governments. That doesn’t make any sense and that is not good for cricket generally.
“He (Richardson) was appreciative of what we are trying to do and appreciative of the fact that we are not going to undermine the ICC statutes about the independence of management from any political direction or control.”
The Dave Cameron-led CWI has had a strained relationship with CARICOM in recent years, as it has stoutly resisted the regional nation grouping’s recommendations to undergo governance reform.
A CARICOM-commissioned Governance Review Report in 2014 criticised CWI for having an “obsolete governance framework” which did not “prioritise accountability and transparency”, and recommended “immediate dissolution” of the board.
In pushing back on CARICOM’s intervention, CWI has argued that as a private entity, governments did not have the right to determine its operations.
However, CARICOM has maintained that cricket in the Caribbean constituted a “public good” and as such, oversight and accountability were required – a point Gonsalves said he made clear to the ICC.
“I … outlined to him our position, that is to say that, cricket is a public good and it ought properly to be regulated and ought not to be operated by a private sector entity,” Gonsalves continued.
“That we want to pass appropriate legislation so that we can … the State will not be involved, the governments will not be involved in the management but we will have the structure of this public good reflecting constituencies other than the current one to ensure that it is more transparent, that the organisation is more transparent and more accountable to the region, reflecting this public good.”
Gonsalves said CARICOM’s legislative approach would ensure the regional people became active stakeholders in the game.
“We intend to abide by all ICC statutes, we would incorporate best practices, and that’s basically the message, it’s the same we have been preaching all the time,” Gonsalves pointed out.
“It is not an anti-Cameron message; it is a pro-West Indies cricket message. The people in the region will have an opportunity to discuss the briefing that we will prepare for the legal draftsperson and then we will discuss this bill among the people of the region and then take it to our respective Parliaments.”