Barbados PM calls for dialogue to deal with WICB issues

By Gerald V. Paul

(Left to Right) Stuart, with Ministers Esther Byer Suckoo and Ronald Jones
(Left to Right) Stuart, with Ministers Esther Byer Suckoo and Ronald Jones

Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart says  the current standards of governance of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) are undesirable and the Board is doing much to undermine the integrity of  West Indies cricket.

But he is not in favour of scrapping the Board.

“Scrap the West Indies Cricket Board? What we  discard may be irreplaceable,” Prime Minister Stuart told The Caribbean Camera last Sunday at a Town Hall meeting at Koffler House at the University of Toronto.

The Prime Minister who was in Toronto to deliver the keynote address at the annual Errol Barrow Memorial dinner on Saturday, fielded questions at the town hall meeting at which many Barbadian nationals were present.

Calling for dialogue to deal with the issues affecting the WICB, he cautioned:  ” Don’t rush to dismantle or discard…Hasten slowly.”

Noting that some (Caricom) heads of Government have already come to the conclusion that it is a waste of time trying to engage the present WICB, as they seek to sensitize the Board  to their concerns  and those of the people of the region, Stuart said that this is “an on-going effective governance challenge” and that they would approach the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Stuart took a different position to that of  Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, who endorsed the 2015 Barriteau Report which recommended the immediate dissolution of the WICB.

But he conceded that West Indies cricket continues to be guided by a structure that is not reflective of the transformation of the game elsewhere.

Mitchell  recently resigned as Chairman of CARICOM’s sub-committee on cricket governance because he was angered by the behavior of “a couple of our leaders in the region.”

He accused them of undermining Caricom’s position by making ” divisive ” public statements.

Stuart explained that  the CARICOM heads of Government had to intervene to protect the interests of the people in the region, given the stand- off between the WICB and CARICOM Heads of Government.

But he said he does not believe the heads of Government need to get “too involved ”

He  suggested that countries with representation on the Board must call for the change at home.