BASSETERRE, St Kitts, CMC – Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo said yesterday CARICOM governments should heed the call from embattled West Indies opener Chris Gayle, and intervene in the impasse between him and the West Indies Cricket Board.
He also called for term limits for WICB boards and said there needed to be a system that held them accountable.
“It comes back to who owns West Indian cricket. The Board thinks it owns West Indian cricket, my belief is that it belongs to all of us, the people of this region,” Jagdeo told a news conference.
He said the WICB operates as though they are the “private owners of West Indian cricket” and are helping to contribute to its demise.
“Many countries when you have failures consistently, the board goes because sometimes they are the problem. Here it does not seem as this is going to happen,” he added.
Gayle released a statement on Friday lamenting his continued exclusion from the West Indies squad. The 31-year-old former West Indies captain said the situation warranted the intervention of regional Heads of Government.
“I appeal to the Heads of Government of CARICOM to do something about this situation. West Indies Cricket is different from the West Indies Cricket Board,” he charged.
“West Indies cricket and West Indies cricketers need help. Since you are the people who represent the fans and all the other stakeholders, it is time for you to act.”
Gayle’s signal to CARICOM comes after a meeting with top WICB officials in Jamaica last month failed to resolve the standoff.
A subsequent WICB directors meeting also failed to find a solution, with the Board stating only that its management “will continue efforts to resolve the issues with Mr. Gayle.”
“I think they should , I think the Caribbean Heads of Government should get involved,” said Jagdeo, who earlier this year, publicly demonstrated with West Indies middle order batsman, Shivnarine Chanderpaul in his dispute with the West Indies coach Ottis Gibson.
Jagdeo said what irked him most was “the unpredictability of this board”.
“Chris Gayle is being treated unfairly by the West Indies Cricket Board. You can’t not tell him anything, he needs to earn too and then you have a tour upcoming and when he goes off, he gets another contract then you concern that he has left the region.
“I think it is a vendetta against those guys who stood out, (Ramnaresh) Sarwan, Chris Gayle and a few others who held out with WIPA (West Indies Players Association) some time ago when they asked us to get involve at the level of heads.
“They (WICB) have decided to humble them,” Jagdeo said. He also hit out at head coach Ottis Gibson who has been criticized by both Gayle and Chanderpaul in recent weeks.
“I am blunt about it, [Gibson] who played I think two test matches [is] telling Shivnarine Chanderpaul how he should bat,” he charged.
Jagdeo said his position on the issue had nothing to do with the fact that Chanderpaul was a Guyanese national, but solely on the fact that he was regarded as one of the best batsmen in the world.
“Shivnarine Chanderpaul has the second highest runs in the West Indies ever after Brian Lara and you would have someone who probably have five runs … coaching a person who at this stage of his career to change his batting style and when he speaks out about it … I have this suspicion they are trying to break him.”
“This can’t be right. Something is wrong. It is all about pettiness and the culture of going with people who are compliant and I think we need to change a lot of these people. We need to have term limits there too,” Jagdeo said in apparent reference to the Guyana Constitution that bars him from being elected for a third consecutive term.
“We need to have serious term limits on these boards,” he added.