June 3, 2001

WICB turmoil: President, VP resign after manager reinstated

An extraordinary week in West Indian cricket took a dramatic turn on Saturday at the annual general meeting of the directors of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) in Barbados. WICB president Pat Rousseau and vice-president Clarvis Joseph tendered their resignations after their decision to dismiss national team manager Ricky Skerritt was overturned by the board membership.

While details of what transpired in the AGM have not yet been made public, Rousseau, who has been WICB president since 1996, and Joseph issued a joint statement at a press conference on Saturday evening to say that "this afternoon we advised the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) of Directors that we are resigning from the WICB effective Monday June 4, 2001. It is based on the unacceptable position in which we find ourselves based on the issue of the termination of Mr. Ricky Skerritt, the Manager of the West Indies Cricket Team."

Rousseau and Joseph said that the Board had made the decision to reinstate Skerritt, and that this brought their integrity into question.

"Mr. Skerritt was evaluated by Mr. Joseph and myself during a debriefing session after each tour and specifically after the England, Australian and South African tours", Rousseau went on to say. "We came to the conclusion based on those evaluations and the performance of the teams that he is not in our opinion a suitable person to manage the West Indies team at this time."

"The Board challenged the process of the evaluation and was concerned whether the evaluation constituted a formal or proper evaluation. They also questioned our authority along with that of the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Gregory Shillingford, to effect the termination without Board approval. We disagreed with that view", Rousseau's statement continued.

"In our opinion the Board's position directly challenged our competence and our integrity in carrying out the process. Since we are not prepared to carry out the directive to re-instate Mr Skerritt we feel obligated to resign."

The WICB will hold an extraordinary meeting on Monday to appoint a new president and vice-president. Gregory Shillingford was reported on Saturday night as saying that his future as WICB chief executive was also uncertain, as he was involved in the decision to sack Skerritt.

Skerritt was informed by Shillingford by email last weekend that he was not to join the West Indies national team squad for their training camp in Trinidad, where they are preparing for a tour of Zimbabwe and Kenya later this month, and that his contract as team manager would be terminated within the week. The manner and circumstances surrounding the dismissal attracted criticism in the media from a number of WICB representatives across the Caribbean.