ST.JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC- Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne today said that he “categorically rejects” the call for the dissolution of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), to pave the way for the emergence of a new governance structure. He had made a similar statement in April this year.
Speaking in his capacity as chairman of the Caricom Committee governing West Indies cricket, Prime Minister Browne predicted that the regional game would be plunged into “further chaos and confusion” if the WICB were to be dissolved.
The Prime Minister was addressing an audience which included WICB President Dave Cameron during a function in St. John’s observing 90 years since the WICB became a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
“Today, I categorically reject the call for the dissolution of the West Indies Cricket Board and I do so in my capacity as chairman of the Caricom Cricket Committee governing West Indies cricket,” Prime Minister Browne said.
“I believe firmly that to dissolve the West Indies Cricket Board would be to plunge West Indies cricket into further chaos and confusion”.
The Antiguan leader’s public revelation puts him at odds with Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr.Keith Mitchell, the current chairman of CARICOM’s Sub-committee on cricket governance.
Dr.Mitchell has been at the forefront of spearheading efforts to effect the restructuring of the WICB and fully endorsed the recent Barriteau Report which last year recommended “the immediate dissolution” of the embattled WICB.
The Barriteau Report was commissioned by CARICOM with agreement from the WICB and authored by UWI Cave Hill Principal, Professor Eudine Barriteau but the WICB rejected the findings.
“In fact I reject the notion that the problems facing West Indies cricket could be exclusively as a result of governance,” Prime Minister Browne pointed out.
“It does not matter the scholars who may have written the various reports, but any conclusions that the problems facing West Indies cricket is exclusive to governance is flawed”.
Prime Minister Browne’s comments are also likely to undermine Prime Minister Mitchell’s efforts to foster unity among Caribbean leaders in bringing about changes to the WICB governance structure.
Only last week in Barbados, Prime Minister Mitchell repeated calls for the WICB to reform itself while delivering the 19th Sir Frank Worrell Memorial lecture.
But his Antiguan counterpart has argued that revamping the WICB governance structure is not necessary, although he accepts that they are weaknesses.
Prime Minister Browne is recommending that the board and stakeholders strengthen the WICB governance structure by ensuring “greater transparency and accountability” and “a better dispute resolution process”.
“Whenever these disputes end up in the public domain they are literally damaging the image of West Indies cricket,” he said.
“So I therefore call on the board to take responsibility to ensure there is a better dispute resolution mechanism in resolving differences between the board and players going forward”.