Garner disappointed by players’ boycott

The former Barbados captain and West Indies fast bowler was disappointed that regional players boycotted the opening day of the 11th round matches in the regional four-day competition which was scheduled to start on Friday because of a conflict with the WICB.

“I knew about it from the night before,” said Garner, who is the president of the Barbados Cricket Association and a director of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).

“All of the players who currently play for West Indies, I have managed at some point or the other. You can call them and ask them a question.

“I have asked them, ‘what are you really trying to achieve?’. They can’t tell you what they are trying to achieve or for what they are fighting.

“I think [the strike] was a bit amateurish, childish, call it whatever you like. There are mechanisms in place for what is happening. At the end of the day, the same people who called the strike are going to be ones turning out [over the weekend].

“The whole thing was ill-advised. If you have meetings pending and you have issues with which to deal, the meeting is the best place to deal with the issues.”

Garner felt the WICB’s efforts to reach settlement on a number of the issues that WIPA President and Chief Executive Officer Dinanath Ramnarine outlined as his reasons for resigning were being frustrated by the attitude of the players’ representatives in negotiations.

“We’ve been trying to do a collective bargaining agreement with WIPA,” Garner said. “But every time you sit down and start talking, all you are hearing is there is a Memorandum of Understanding and [they will] stick to the MOU.

“At the end of the day, the cricket is suffering for it. I don’t think it is doing any good. We want to put an agreement in place where those players who are playing the four-day competition are part of the thing.”

Garner disclosed that the main bone of contention was the disbursement of income among players that represent the West Indies team and those that have only played in the regional first-class competition.

He acknowledged that the fees being paid to players in regional competitions were insignificant, but he suggested that WIPA has apparently taken issue with the WICB’s proposal to share a percentage of its annual income between the West Indies players and the regional players.

“When you give away 25 per cent of all your annual earnings to 15 players at the top and it doesn’t stretch through, then it is a problem,” he said.

“I think we should come out and tell the public exactly what is happening. We are fighting so that the six territorial teams, beside the top players, will all be in the pool.

“If we are going to give 25 per cent of everything that the WICB earns, then it has to go right across the board and not only to 15 people at the top which has been happening for the last three to four years and it cannot go on.

“When WIPA comes to the table, they have got to come with the intention of doing what is right for our cricket. You can only help the cricket if the other players down the line can have comfort in knowing they can be professional cricketers by having a salary that is comparable with the other people playing cricket in the rest of the World.”

Garner noted that the method and indeed the percentage that the WICB had proposed were comparable to the other cricket hot spots around the World.

“In Australia, 180 people share the pot,” he said. “In South Africa, the six state teams also share the pot. It is never done with the only the Test players. That is the way that we have to go.

“Until the players get up and start asking [WIPA] the right questions, I can’t do anything. I can only fight from where I am as a director and say this cannot go on.”

Garner concluded that he believes the WICB has to change the way it negotiates with WIPA, and bring in industrial relations professionals to handle the job.

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