President Bharrat Jagdeo on Friday opined that the existing problems within the Guyana Cricket Board have in some way contributed to the inefficient manner in which the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has been managing regional cricket.
“Even here in Guyana, even this unhappy situation with our board, to some extent contributes to the West Indies Cricket Board behaving the way it does because we don’t have strong representation there and it reflects the disorganized nature of our own cricket,” Jagdeo said on Friday during a press briefing at the Office of the President.
Over the past year, the GCB executive has been plagued by internal divisions and accusations of financial impropriety.
In assessing the state of West Indies cricket, Jagdeo was extremely critical of the WICB and its management of the game saying that the problems facing West Indies cricket was symptomatic of a lot of things that were wrong. He charged that the WICB behaves as if it owns West Indies cricket, when it in fact “belongs to the territories; it belongs to the country boards, to the people of this region and to the players and not to some bureaucracy that is an amalgamation of the boards of the region,” Jagdeo declared.
Jagdeo said that it is also important that two other issues are resolved if there is to be a revival of the sport in the Caribbean. “One has to do with the commercial rights of players and the second has to do with compensation. And every tour, before every tour, they have this whole issue, they have long outstanding matters and the negotiations become so acrimonious etc… that it haunts, I think, the entire tour and the performance,” he said. “The management and the players are seen on opposite sides. You don’t need that, you need a team. And if you settle those issues- and they can be settled by determining a gross percentage, a percentage of gross earnings that the board makes, or they could go to the players and they then decide among themselves how it goes to compensation. You can settle the commercial issues and put a percentage of maybe gross income also as settlement for commercial rights. It could be done [ but] unless they do it, they would have this constant clash before every tour and then what will happen is that they are not a single team; so they need to fix that.”
The President also sided with Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Chris Gayle, who both have had recent public spats with the WICB. “I saw in the regional media they made a big issue about Chanderpaul and the picture [with myself]… and I’m glad Chanderpaul spoke out because he has probably been more reserved and reticent and very disciplined. But you heard what he said? He said if I make runs, they call me in and long, several hours, four hour meetings telling me why I shouldn’t bat like that. And if I don’t make runs they do the same thing”, Jagdeo stated. “Can you imagine that at this stage in Chanderpaul’s career— the ICC Cricketer of- the- Year— a man who is second to Brian Lara only in this region, in terms of runs gathered, and you as a person who played two Test matches and as a bowler too trying to coach Chanderpaul on how to bat? It is ridiculous; you destroy the player’s confidence,” Jagdeo said. “Look at the situation with Chris Gayle. It’s atrocious to treat Chris Gayle like that. Chris Gayle could change any game but I think it is the vindictiveness because Chris Gayle and a few others were at the forefront of the issues when there was this conflict with WIPA and WICB,” he added.
Speaking about Caricom’s attempt to resolve the ongoing conflict between the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) and the WICB, Jagdeo said he had turned down the offer to head the sub-committee looking at the issues, but said he will sit on the committee.
While acknowledging that Caricom has no legal right to intervene in the game, he said that the member states could use their ownership of the stadia as a means to put pressure on the WICB, which has in the past been reluctant to let the heads intervene. “They [the WICB] feel they own the cricket but they have to find some place to play the cricket,” he declared.