Cricket Australia talks provided insight for ICC meeting: Rowley

Prime Minister Keith Rowley (left) with CEO of Cricket Australia, James Sutherland, during their meeting.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, May 29, CMC – Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says his meeting with Cricket Australia officials last week has armed him with  “valuable insight”, ahead of CARICOM’s meeting with the International Cricket Council in November.

Speaking following his return from Australia, Rowley told reporters here Tuesday that his discussions Down Under had provided him with a new perspective, one which would inform the Prime Ministerial sub-committee’s plans to overhaul the governance structure of West Indies cricket.

The sub-committee, which is chaired by St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, is expected to meet with the ICC during the Twenty20 Women’s World Cup scheduled for Guyana, St Lucia and Antigua, to convey what Rowley recently labelled as the “desperate urgency” of dealing with the governance issues in West Indies cricket.

“Our future is tied up not so much with talking to Cricket Australia,” Rowley explained.

“That was good to get the experience and solicit their support … but the key to it is the ICC. They gave us an insight as to how they dealt with the ICC in bringing about the re-organisation of their cricket.”

He continued: “I’m a member of the cricket committee of CARICOM, Prime Minister Gonsalves is the chairman. We’re trying to meet with the ICC for a sit down, for a conversation. “In London, that [meeting] was declined because of the unavailability of certain people but they indicated to us that an opportunity will arrive in November and we intend to avail ourselves of that opportunity.

“… as a member of that [cricket] committee, I had valuable insight as to what went on in Australia where Australia now had cricket run by Cricket Australia.”

CARICOM, the powerful regional nation grouping, is pressing Cricket West Indies to change its governance structure in order to improve accountability and the overall management of the game.

But with the regional governing body having stoutly resisted, CARICOM has pressed ahead with creating what Gonsalves has termed the “broad framework” for the “legislative approach” intended to be pursued.

At the two-day Intersessional in Haiti last February, CARICOM leaders adopted legal advice which affirmed their position disputing CWI’s right to manage the “public good” of West Indies cricket.

Rowley said the Australian model of governance was one which should trigger an “interesting conversation” in the Caribbean.

“As a matter of fact, one of the things I discovered is that the board – Cricket Australia – how people get there and how they function and who they represent,” he pointed out.

“And it would make interesting conversation here in the West Indies as to how people get into that position in Australia, and why Australia cricket is where it is and why ours is where it is.”

Rowley’s meeting with Cricket Australia formed part of an official visit to Australia where he also met with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and discussed several other matters including national security and border protection.

But he said it had been necessary to also have talks with Cricket Australia in order to get a sense of how they had restructured.

“I wanted to meet with Cricket Australia for the simple reason that I wanted to get a first-hand feel as to how they went about fixing their problem … and they did give us good insight and I can tell you across Australia, there is a sadness about the demise of West Indies cricket,” Rowley noted.

“Every person I spoke to, and they were many, speak about the great tragedy that is the loss of West Indies cricket and they all spoke very fondly about the years of rivalry with West Indies cricket and the days when that was the pinnacle of cricket as a game.”

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