League president protests against USACA AGM
Leighton Greenidge, the president of the Southern Connecticut Cricket Association and regional director of the currently suspended North East Region, has spoken out against the USA Cricket Association (USACA) for the way the Annual General Meeting was handled on December 15 in New York. According to sources, only two league presidents belonging to member leagues in good standing attended the meeting, which took place inside the Hilton Hotel at JFK Airport.
Despite the small crowd, several people including Greenidge were denied access at the conference room door to prevent participation at the AGM. USACA has not issued any meeting minutes regarding the AGM and attempts to contact USACA president Gladstone Dainty by phone to discuss the meeting were unsuccessful.
According to sources, one of the documents presented at the AGM by Dainty was titled, "A Vision For USACA" and dated September 9, 2008. In the document, Dainty blamed USACA's lack of a business office as the singular fact that "has stymied the development of the organisation."
USACA had originally announced that the AGM was to take place at the April 14 board meeting in Florida, when general elections were held. Just days ahead of that meeting, the ICC had confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that USACA's funding grants were temporarily suspended because of its failure to hold an AGM in 2011, one of the core administrative requirements for all Associate members. Dainty was re-elected in a landslide after 32 of the 47 USACA member leagues were barred from voting.
Sources claim that internal doubts were raised recently as to whether or not the April meeting constituted an AGM. As a result, USACA announced that the AGM would be held in New York on December 15. However, it is unclear if the meeting can be considered a legitimate AGM if only two presidents from member leagues in good standing were present. Consequently, the Associate funding grants that USACA receives from the ICC could once again be in danger of being suspended.
"It is public knowledge that I am not a supporter of Gladstone Dainty's failed policies and initiatives as it relates to management of cricket in the United States," Greenidge told ESPNcricinfo. "Having said that, I still have a fiduciary obligation and responsibility to my constituents as president of my league, the Southern Connecticut Cricket Association, and as a Regional Director of the North East Region to represent them and report to them what transpired at that and every AGM."
According to Greenidge, he arrived shortly before the 10 am start time and approached the entrance to the meeting room with USACA board member Krish Prasad. In a scene reminiscent of two previous board meetings from 2011 and 2010, when board members were prevented from entering USACA meetings by off duty policemen or security guards, Greenidge had his name on a list held by a security guard stationed outside the door with instructions to refuse him entry. Prasad was allowed to enter.
"On approaching the door to the meeting room, we were approached by a gentleman who asked both of us to sign in on the sign-in sheet provided and to produce some form of photo ID for verification," Greenidge said. "Upon examination of my credentials, the gentleman, who identified himself as chief of security of that Hilton Hotel, informed me that he had a list of individuals in hand who were not allowed in the meeting and that furthermore my name was on that list. He insisted that I leave the establishment immediately or he would take further action."
Greenidge's league is currently a member league that was declared one of the 32 member leagues not in good standing after the results of a USACA compliance audit were announced at the start of the year. As a result, his league was ineligible to vote in April's general elections. However, Greenidge said he didn't think that attending the AGM in New York would cause any problems because of statements made by Dainty and USACA treasurer John Thickett to ESPNcricinfo on November 22 regarding April's elections and that all members would be welcome at the AGM.
"I would like to state it's not true the board targeted certain regions," Dainty told ESPNcricinfo. "The constitution is quite clear about the compliance procedures and the rules are there in the constitution and in the laws of the United States."
"No league was sanctioned in any way and USACA has provided a large amount of material to non-compliant leagues to help them to become compliant and offered the services of its staff to also assist them," Thickett said. "All USACA members are welcome to attend the AGM. On voting matters, all members in good standing are eligible to vote."
While USACA had 47 member leagues under its umbrella in 2011, Dainty stated in a December 13 affidavit that there are currently only 12 member leagues in good standing with USACA. The affidavit was filed in response to a lawsuit filed by former USACA executive secretary Kenwyn Williams.
"The cricketing world needs to have a full understanding of the state of cricket in the USA under the current administration," Greenidge said. "This administration has reduced its membership to 12 leagues while still expecting to receive the same level of ICC funding that they enjoyed when there were 45+ leagues in the association."
"This administration claims to be transparent and honest, but the actions of this group are anything but honest. One has to wonder if USACA is really about cricket or something else. No real tournaments, no cricket development or anything that even approaches the mission statement of the organisation. If an organisation is unable to develop simple local and national tournaments, it is unreasonable to expect it to run a tournament with international implications that approaches the standard of the IPL and what would amount to be a $1 billion venture."
Peter Della Penna is a journalist based in New Jersey