WICB, WIPA continue talks
West Indies are preparing for a seven-match limited-overs international series against Zimbabwe, starting with a double-header on Saturday and Sunday in Antigua, but negotiations over retainer contracts have held sway over the last two weeks. West Indies are the only team in international cricket without a retainer contract system for their players and the players have been unrelenting in their demands for better terms and conditions.
Ken Gordon, the WICB president, led the regional governing body's team that also included WICB directors Deryck Murray and Desmond Haynes, two former West Indies vice-captains and members of the newly-appointed Cricket Committee, which has taken the lead in the latest round of negotiations.
Dinanath Ramnarine, executive president, headed WIPA's team that also comprised industrial relations advisers David Abdulah and Dr Krishna Harratsingh for the meeting that commenced around 1.30 p.m.
The board announced on Sunday that it would meet with WIPA in an attempt to conclude retainer contracts negotiations, after a meeting between Murray and Ramnarine last Friday yielded no results. The WICB warned, however, that if arrangements are not finalised, it would issue retainer contracts to the ten or so selected players, who have until May 3 to sign their contracts. The WICB said where retainer contracts are not signed, alternative players would be offered. The board said the retainer contracts will be for a term of one year from May 2006 to April 2007. In the meantime, match/tour contracts, separate from the retainer contracts, were expected to be offered to the players on Monday in an effort to assemble a squad in time for the first two limited-overs internationals against the Zimbabweans.
Last Wednesday, the WICB's Cricket Committee, under the chairmanship of Clive Lloyd, former West Indies captain, had fixed last Friday as a deadline for completion of negotiations on the issue. Today, the WICB is expected to announce a captain to replace Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who resigned from the position two weeks ago, as well as the squad for the two matches in Antigua.