BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell says he is likely to step down as chairman of CARICOM’s Sub-committee on cricket governance, stressing he was not prepared “to play games” with the future of West Indies cricket.
Mitchell has been at the forefront of spearheading efforts to effect the restructuring of the West Indies Cricket Board, and fully endorsed the recent Barriteau Report which last year recommended “the immediate dissolution” of the embattled WICB.
However, with CARICOM locked in a stand-off with the WICB over the matter, Mitchell said he was fully prepared to step away from his current role though he would remain outspoken on the governance issues facing the game.
“It would appear we did a poor job in communicating what has occurred so my view is that I need to step back. I have no ego to get from this. I have one interest and the regional leaders, mostly so, have one interest: the success of West Indies cricket,” Mitchell said as he delivered the 19th Sir Frank Worrell Memorial lecture at the UWI Cave Hill Campus on Wednesday night.
“I don’t know how long I will continue to chair the sub-committee because I feel so strongly about what is taking place and as leaders, we must have the fortitude to do what is right. We cannot play games with the future of our children and grandchildren, this is too much about the future of our children and grandchildren’s generations to come.”
He stressed: “I’m not playing games with it. Who wants to play games with it, that’s their business. They will have to account for it. But I tell you one thing, whether I continue to chair this or not – and I likely will not – you will never not hear the voice of Keith Mitchell about West Indies cricket.
“Whether I am in government or out of government as I’ve been for the last 30 years, you will hear my voice because it is deep down in the belly. It comes from the heart. Who wants to play games, let them play games. The future of West Indies cricket is what this is all about.”
Mitchell also sought to debunk the idea that he and CARICOM were intent on taking over West Indies cricket. In fact, the veteran leader said not only was this not their objective, but prime ministers were not even equipped to properly run the game. He said, though, the regional nation grouping had a role to play in creating the environment for the game to prosper.
“I want to make it abundantly clear again to everyone, CARICOM has no desire or intention of getting involved in the running of the day-to-day management of West Indies cricket,” Mitchell said.
“We do not have the yearning or the skills to do it. Moreover, prime ministers are extremely busy people, we already have enough problems and challenges in our countries to deal with.
“CARICOM’s sole objective in the process of reform is helping to create a structure and an enabling environment where West Indies cricket can again flourish and rise to the pinnacle of the sport, a position it once occupied and enjoyed for more than 20 years.”
The Barriteau Report was commissioned by CARICOM with agreement from the WICB, and authored by UWI Cave Hill Principal, Professor Eudine Barriteau.
However, the WICB has since rejected the findings, calling the panel’s investigations “limited in scope” and labelling the main recommendation for dissolution an “unnecessary and intrusive demand.”