Skerritt ready to act on campaign promises but urges patience

KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – After securing the Cricket West Indies top job in a stunning result here Sunday, new president Ricky Skerritt has targeted the rejuvenation of the high performance centre, governance reform and finding a permanent West Indies coach, as three of the main items on his immediate agenda.

However, the former St Kitts and Nevis government minister has urged patience from stakeholders as he prepares to implement his 10-point Cricket First Plan, which formed the basis of his election campaign over the last month. The 62-year-old was speaking shortly after he and running mate, Dr Kishore Shallow, unseated Jamaican Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron and vice-president, Emmanuel Nathan, by 8-4 margins, in a highly anticipated annual general meeting at the Jamaica Pegasus.

“We are going to have to ask for patience but there is some basis in some of those 10 points that is already happening but most of it needs significant improvements, significant injections and in the case of the HPC for instance that is going to be the one that is most costly,” Skerritt shared. The former West Indies team manager had made reviving the HPC one of the bedrocks of his campaign, after the Cameron-led CWI pulled the plug in the institution in 2017.

Skerritt, who gained widespread support from stakeholders in his election bid, said CWI would also be aiming to make possible implementations from the Patterson Report.

“We had actually begun to do that under the leadership of Don Wehby and myself and two other independent directors back in 2016 and 2017,” Skerritt explained.

“And there is a report that was submitted to the outgoing president which was really a review of the Patterson Report and several others, to try to see which recommendations had actually been implemented and which ones were not.

“So what we have to do now is go back dust off that 2017 report which is the most recent summary and use it as a starting point to see which of the governance changes are still relevant and which ones we can implement as quickly as possible.”

He added “I will even try to approach him [Wehby]. Maybe he can somehow find the time out of his busy schedule to look at that report and even help me with the implementations.”

According to Skerritt, steps will also be taken to search within the region for the next possible West Indies senior team coach. Englishman Richard Pybus is currently guiding the team on an interim basis, following the departure of Australian Stuart Law.

The appointment of Pybus ahead of the recent England series was a controversial affair, with Cameron accused of hand-picking the former director of cricket and agreeing contractual terms without prior board approval.

“That has been a vexatious sort of issue,” said Skerritt.

“I have to tell you that we believe very strongly in localising the expertise that we put behind our teams and we believe only in bringing in non-Caribbean expertise only where it is not available across the region.

“We want to be sure that the team does well at all times with the possible resources but we also have to make sure that they have a Caribbean support team around them.”

He continued: “So that is the issue which will be looked at. I can’t give you any promises or any anticipation of how soon or when there will be changes but it is an issue that has touched many across the region. People generally want to see Caribbean past cricketers and Caribbean expertise helping to build Caribbean cricket.”

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