USA elections December 28, 2004

Elections marooned in murky waters

As the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) election process drags on, the situation is becoming murkier by the minute. There are no clear signs on where things are headed, let alone where (and when) they will end up.

In the meanwhile, some basic questions are being raised. The answers, if any, are unavailable. Several impasses have developed, and no resolutions are in sight at the present time.

The first sign of trouble can be found in the USACA official membership list, which is now part of the USACA website. It turns out that three of the major cricket leagues in New York are not on that list, nor is the Midwest Cricket Conference of Chicago, one of the largest leagues in the USACA Central East region. Together, these leagues cover 100 or so US cricket clubs, or about a quarter of the estimated membership of the USACA.

There is more trouble with the Atlantic and Metropolitan Region. The member clubs are listed, but no indication is provided on the leagues that the clubs belong to.

The obvious explanation is that all these clubs, and their leagues, had failed to pay their annual dues by the August deadline officially established by the USACA. The past USACA elections had been bedeviled by last-minute payments of membership dues, and selective registrations - some clubs had been allowed to squeeze past the established deadlines, and others had been summarily rejected. Presumably, the setting of the August deadline was intended to put a stop to these hi-jinks, which was an eminently sensible way to proceed.

However, the situation turns out to be more complicated. The Midwest Cricket Conference says its member clubs had all paid their 2003 and 2004 dues in a timely fashion, and places the blame squarely on Masood (Chic) Syed, their regional director, for misreporting their dues status. The director of the Metropolitan and Mid-Atlantic Region, Shelton Glasgow, is said to be balking at the entire election process, which may account for the data deficiency on league affiliations in his region. And there is a war of words going on between Gladstone Dainty, the USACA's president, and the secretary, S Refaie, on who is authorised to proceed with the USACA elections and therefore, who is breaking the USACA executive ranks.

The trouble between Dainty and Refaie seems to have to do with "background checks" of USACA BOD candidates, which was explicitly endorsed by the board of directors for the current year. Dainty accused Refaie of usurping the authority of Selwyn Caesar, the USACA's treasurer, who had the responsibility to conduct such "background checks", and charged Refaie with compromising the mission of USACA by his actions. In his reply, Refaie states that he has been following USACA and BOD requirements to the letter, and charges Dainty with shady dealings and underhanded actions.

As any novice could see, there is more to these matters than meets the eye. The issues in the Central East Region revolve around whether their regional director is suppressing the registrations of the Midwest Cricket Conference to guarantee his re-election; MCC is promising to sue if the legitimacy of its member clubs are denied.

The New York situation continues the running feud between the New York Cricket Region and USACA, exacerbated by the impending elections. And the spat between the top members of the USACA executive underlines the internal conflicts at the top that have, in effect, left the USACA devoid of any clear direction. This is precisely what the USACA elections are expected to solve -- if they are given a fair chance.