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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Caribbean heads plan for action in WI cricket

CARICOM Heads of Government have always taken the position that the management of West Indies cricket is the province of the West Indies Cricket Board and their affiliate organisations.

This notwithstanding, the Heads of Government have always been cognizant of their responsibility as representatives of the Caribbean people in the region and the diaspora for whom cricket is one of the major integrating factors.Â

This fact was primarily responsible for the establishment of the Prime Ministerial Sub- Committee on Cricket [13 years ago] at the onset of the dramatic decline in the performance of the West Indies teams.Â

The PMSC was established to lend support to a process of rebuilding, both in terms of the performance of the team and in strengthening the organisation of cricket in the region.

Heads of Government expanded the role of the PMSC in the context of the successful bid by the region to be hosts to the 2007 World Cup.Â

The Governments were intricately involved in supporting the WICB in the bidding process, and subsequently invested substantially in large scale infrastructure through enhanced or new stadia and facilities for cricket throughout the region - all this at great cost to its taxpayers.

Over the past 10 years in particular, the Heads of Government as well as all stakeholders in West Indies, have endured the fracturing of relations and distrust between WICB and the West Indies Players Association.Â

The current situation, if not resolved IMMEDIATELY, will no doubt destroy the fabric on which to base any hope of reviving the region's standing in international cricket, or building a solid future for West Indies cricket.

It is under these circumstances that the PMSC has decided to intervene in the process at this time and make recommendations on a feasible way forward, following the aborted mediation exercise chaired by Sir Shridath Ramphal and initiated by the Chairman of the Community, President Bharrat Jagdeo [of Guyana], with the agreement of WICB and WIPA.

The main concern of the Heads of Government is restoring the image and status of West Indies cricket regionally and internationally.

Consequently the PMSC has recommended [that] WICB and WIPA, with the assistance of the CARICOM Secretariat, to agree on a formula and minimum criteria that allow the WICB to select the best West Indies team as follows:

(a) Players to make themselves available for selection in accordance with normal WICB requirements, in particular, participation in the regional tournaments;

(b) WICB to agree to the television/image rights fees (sponsor's fees) traditionally paid to players pending the special arbitration on this issue to facilitate the signing of retainer contracts by October 1 this year;

(c) WICB and WIPA to agree on the implementation of: (1) the special arbitration process provided for in the Mediator's draft agreement, i.e. on 'Team rights' and 'the India tour'; and (2) best efforts by the CARICOM Secretariat in the first instance to facilitate the resolution of the other outstanding issues proposed by WICB and WIPA, or the pursuit of arbitration if necessary, such arbitration not to delay the return of West Indies cricket to normalcy;

(d) CARICOM to convene a Stakeholders meeting at the earliest practicable date to discuss the future of West Indies cricket, taking account of the WICB's Development Plan, as well as the Report of the Patterson Committee established by WICB;

(e) The WICB to inform the International Cricket Council of the action taken by Caribbean Governments with the object of returning West Indies cricket to its accustomed place in world cricket in consonance with the highest traditions of the sport as upheld by the ICC; and

(f) The Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Cricket will monitor compliance with the above agreed measures based on periodic reports from the CARICOM Secretariat

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