Thursday, October 30, 2014

'Form CARICOM panel to solve Windies contract dispute'

Bridgetown (Barbados), Oct 30 (IANS/CMC) Caribbean island St. Vincent’s Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has advocated the assembling of a three-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) panel to help resolve the ongoing contract dispute in West Indies cricket.

The West Indies cricketers, the West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) are currently involved in a bitter payments row that has plunged West Indies cricket into a huge financial crisis following the players’ decision to abandon their tour of India midway, reports CMC.

The move resulted in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) cancelling all bilateral ties with the WICB and also initiating a legal action against the Caribbean board, reports CMC.

In a letter to WICB president Dave Cameron last week, Gonsalves said the current crisis was too serious a matter to be solved by the Board alone, and suggested the wider engagement of CARICOM.

Gonsalves proposed the panel be comprised of current CARICOM Chairman, Antigua’s’Prime Minister Gaston Browne; Grenada’s Prime Minister Keith Mitchell and former Jamaica Prime Minister P.J. Patterson.

“I”consider that a mature engagement with regional governments through CARICOM may assist in finding satisfactory ways to the impasse,” Gonsalves wrote in the letter, which he read on a radio cricket show here.

“I do not think that this huge complicated issue can be handled in an ad-hoc manner or by the WICB alone. This is an extraordinary enterprise which takes us beyond the boundary,” he added.

The experienced leader, who played a key role in resolving the impasse between the WICB and star batsman Chris Gayle two years ago, said while his proposal was not a new one, “the urgency of now demands its embrace.”

According to his proposal, the CARICOM panel would focus not only on solving the current impasse, but on several other key issues in West Indies cricket.

These include the sustainable funding of Caribbean cricket, the reform of the management of the WICB and easing of tensions between the WICB and the BCCI.

“The CARICOM group is well placed to assist not only with the cricketing authority in India but possibly with the Indian government,” Gonsalves wrote.

The long-serving Vincentian leader said the impasse called for “exceptional leadership, a well-articulated strategic path and wise feasible tactical approaches”.

“The ultimate goal is wrapped up in a process for the survival, consolidation and renaissance of the West Indies cricket,” Gonsalves wrote in the letter.

The WICB announced last week it would set up a task force to investigate the matter.

The crisis took place when the visiting West Indies One-Day team abruptly walked off the tour of India in protest over the terms and conditions of the newly signed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that the WIPA struck with the WICB.

The players said the new agreement would result in a drastic reduction in their earnings and called for the resignation of the WIPA president and chief executive, Wavell Hinds, and for a return to the terms of the old CBA.

They abandoned the tour following the fourth One-Day International (ODI) in Dharamsala. They were to play another One-Dayer in Kolkata, a one-off Twenty20 in Cuttack and a three-match Test series scheduled to start Oct 30.



'Form CARICOM panel to solve Windies contract dispute'


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