Gonsalves happy with progress of CWI restructure plan after ICC meeting

By Colin Benjamin March 11, 2019
St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister and Chairman of the CARICOM sub-committee on cricket, Ralph Gonsalves St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister and Chairman of the CARICOM sub-committee on cricket, Ralph Gonsalves

St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister and Chairman of the CARICOM sub-committee on cricket, Ralph Gonsalves, is happy with the progress his organization is making with regard to restructuring Cricket West Indies (CWI). 

CARICOM and the International Cricket Council (ICC) met officially to address the governance of West Indies cricket recently and, according to Gonsalves, cricket’s governing body is appreciative of the stance of his organization.

The two entities, one represented by Gonsalves, the other by CEO Dave Richardson, met in Dubai before the just-concluded ICC board meeting.

In April of last year, the ICC had turned down CARICOM’s request to meet, saying the CWI would have to be represented at such a meeting. An alternative of meeting during the Women’s World T20 last November also didn’t happen.

“I spoke to Dave Richardson (Head of Secretariat, ICC) and I outlined to him our position, that is to say that, cricket is a public good and it ought properly to be regulated and ought not to be operated by a private-sector entity,” said Gonsalves, adding that he also pointed out CARICOM’s proposal to change that situation.

“That we want to pass appropriate legislation so that we can  … the State will not be involved, the governments will not be involved in the management but we will have the structure of this public good reflecting constituencies other than the current one to ensure that it is more transparent, that the organization is more transparent and more accountable to the region, reflecting this public good,” he said.

Gonsalves also made sure to point out that CARICOM had no intention of running roughshod over long-held ICC statutes regarding government involvement in the running of the sport.

“We intend to abide by all ICC statutes, we would incorporate best practices, and that’s basically the message, it’s the same we have been preaching all the time. It is not an anti-Cameron message, it is a pro-West Indies cricket message. The people in the region will have an opportunity to discuss the briefing that we will prepare for the legal draftsperson and then we will discuss this bill among the people of the region and then take it to our respective Parliaments,” he said.

CARICOM had suggested in a 2015 report the board be dissolved. All six territorial boards signed a letter rejecting this idea, which led to suggestions by some that CARICOM wanted to take cricket out of the hands of Cameron and the traditional board to replace it with a board of its own.

With an Indian court recently advising the Board of Control for Cricket in India that it could no longer operate as a private entity, CARICOM changed tac and began looking at restructuring the CWI, rather than dissolving it.

"But the question is: Cricket is a public good. Can a private entity run the public good? And that question has been determined in another jurisdiction in India, so that's a separate question. I'm not interested in the dissolution of the West Indies Cricket Board,” Gonsalves had said back in 2017.

As far as that process is going, July could mark the first time that CARICOM members will get a look at the instructions that will go to a draftsperson will look like.

“Hopefully we can get something to the heads of government in time for the July meeting for them to approve of the instructions to go to the draftspersons,” said Gonsalves.

Gonsalves is buoyed by the response of the ICC to CARICOM’s plans, saying its CEO was ‘appreciative’.

“The ICC appreciated that I came to talk to them. They agree also that you can’t have a board being in a hostile relationship with governments or several of the governments. That doesn’t make any sense and that is not good for cricket generally. He was appreciative of what we are trying to do and appreciative of the fact that we are not going to undermine the ICC statutes about the independence of management from any political direction or control.”

Just as pleasing to Gonsalves, is CARICOM’s view on the progress it has made in the name of putting West Indies Cricket back on a path of success.

“CARICOM is happy that I saw the ICC and with the report that I gave to the ICC. So I think we are on target. Every stage of the process thus far has been good,” said the Prime Minister.

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