West Indies contracts row September 7, 2009

Hunte wants meeting with Ramphal to clear allegations

Cricinfo staff

West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Julian Hunte has sought a meeting with Bharrat Jagdeo, the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) chairman and Guyana president, to set right the "misinformation" over the failed mediation talks between the board and the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA).

In a letter to the Guyana president, Hunte said the WICB had been wrongly blamed for the collapse in talks and that immediate measures were needed to correct the perception.

"It is my sincere hope that you will agree that an early meeting between us may assist in correcting the erroneous impressions that have been conveyed in order to forestall any further adverse effect on the reputation of West Indies cricket," Hunte wrote in his letter. "At the same time, I trust that you will appreciate the urgent need for us to set about some damage control measures with regard to the misinformation that is already in the public domain."

Jagdeo criticised the WICB last week over the failed mediation talks headed by former Commonwealth secretary-general Shridath Ramphal. Jagdeo, who brokered the mediation deal in Guyana in July, felt that when the WIPA agreed during their July 21 meeting to make all their players available for selection, the move would allow "normalcy" to return.

Instead, Jagdeo alleged the board prejudiced the efforts to broker peace from the start by not disclosing they had already selected a Champions Trophy squad without the top-flight players. Ramphal also said one "party" had introduced a document late in the mediation process which had led to the stalling of talks.

But Hunte hit back at the comments, claiming that Jagdeo had agreed during the July 21 meeting that while the striking players had made themselves available, "actual team selection was a matter for the selection committee". Hunte, in fact, slammed WIPA president, Dinanath Ramnarine for having not taken the mediation process seriously, after absenting himself "to proceed on vacation with his family in Tobago."

Hunte also said Ramphal's public comments and his final report to Jagdeo were factually incorrect. "I am advised that the articulation of the WICB's position by Ramphal in his press statements and in his final report to you are factually incorrect and that there was never any adoption by the WICB during the mediation proceedings of an unwillingness to negotiate on the proposed Mediation Agreement which it submitted on the night of August 31, 2009," Hunte wrote.

The impasse, which developed ahead of the previous home series, against Bangladesh, led to the region's leading players making themselves unavailable over pay and contractual disputes. The matter is now expected to head to the Caribbean Court of Justice for arbitration.