That Cricket West Indies Election
The upcoming presidential race for the top post of Cricket West Indies set for Jamaica, March 24, is heating up to be an intriguing affair.
Incumbent, Dave Cameron of Jamaica, is being challenged by Ricky Skerritt of St Kitts and Nevis for the presidency, while Dominican Emmanuel Nanthan has Vincentian Dr Kishore Shallow as his opponent for the position of vice-president.
From the outset, Jamaica, Barbados, the Windwards and Guyana have thrown their weight behind the Cameron and Nanthan team, while the Leeward Islands and Trinidad and Tobago have indicated that the combination of Skerritt and Shallow, is their preferred choice.
However, president of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) Billy Heaven had indicated that his organization would not be making a “nationality vote”, but will select the persons best suited and with the better message.
It must be borne in mind, that the JCA had nominated the incumbent.
Therefore, is Heaven’s statement simply a red herring? Or is it a tactical ploy to be the territorial board which holds the balance of the vote? Or is Mr Heaven just being politically correct and diplomatic?
What is being gleaned, however, is that there are some serious overtures among the territories at the CWI level.
This dangerous type of blind loyalty and division cannot be healthy for cricket administration in the region.
It is evident that the territories are split down the middle, hence it is you for you and me for me.
Whilst no one can say with any degree of accuracy, some territories, seemingly, would be in favour of the incumbent.
A parallel will have to be drawn as to why some territories are afforded the majority of personnel in the West Indies teams set up, and link that to the unwavering allegiance given to Cameron and Nanthan.
The initial decision by the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), that they had no time to entertain Skerritt and Shallow, showed the extent of the allegiance, or better still, division.
And, even though the BCA has rescinded that decision and have chosen to accommodate the opposition, as it were, the damage is irreparable.
Are our cricket administrators going down the same road with Cricket West Indies as we are doing with the various countries in Caribbean national politics?
Will this be the same outcome where, who votes for elected president sucks the berries and those who opposed face the suffering?
This type of action and reaction, is opening up a brand of sports politicking in the region which clearly is not good for the discipline.
West Indies cricket has too many issues for these candidates to add to its woes, by their display of shouting matches and near character assassination against each other.
The accusations flew left, right and centre, from both sides, as Cameron was critical of Skerritt’s tenure as West Indies senior team manager, while Skerritt reciprocated by pointing to the many battles the board has had to fight and the losses under Cameron’s headship.
But some persons are contending that this type of behaviour is the accepted nature of any type of campaigning, hence, sports, and more so cricket, should not be exempted.
It is the same argument that is proffered for Shallow to do away with territorial homogeneity and oppose his own, in Nanthan.
Beyond the intricacies that are emerging from the electoral campaigning, the real issue the territorial boards will have to consider is what is best for West Indies cricket for the next two years and beyond.
Are they willing to keep the status quo, hence reinstate Cameron and Nanthan, ahead of Skerritt and Shallow, who promise to communicate, collaborate and co-operate with stakeholders?
Skerritt and Shallow, in their ten-point plan, also promises term limits, as well as the emphasis on the development of grassroots cricket, coaching development and the re-introduction of the high-performance system.
Other than Skerritt and Shallow, Cameron and Nanthan are up against several regional prime ministers, who have unequivocally lambasted more so Cameron’s style of leadership.
Their involvement and not necessarily interference, adds to the intrigue that will be decided by secret ballots in just over a week’s time in Jamaica.
Whatever the outcome, some serious changes must come to the governance structure of cricket administration in the Caribbean.
This has to begin, if we are to control the results on the field, whenever the West Indies teams step on to it.