West Indies contracts row September 10, 2009

WIPA alarmed by board's strong-arm tactics

Cricinfo staff

The West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) has expressed dismay at the decision by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to resume disciplinary action against all West Indian players who had breached the board's Code of Conduct during the home series against England, India and Bangladesh this year.

With the breakdown of mediation talks over pay and contractual disputes between the two parties recently, the WICB, in a statement on Monday, said they would go ahead with disciplinary action - a move, they claimed, that had been in motion even before the efforts to broker peace broke down.

In response, the WIPA, headed by former West Indies legspinner Dinanath Ramnarine, issued its own release on Tuesday which read: "The said statement not only announces the WICB's intention to continue such matters but goes considerably further, making claims that are highly prejudicial and intrinsically at odds with the very process the WICB wants to pursue.

"It is clear that several of the statements made in this WICB release of September 7 have already drawn conclusions that impinge on the entitlements of those players who may be the subject of any such disciplinary matters and may well give them the view that the WICB referral mentioned in the release is for sentencing rather than for hearing."

WIPA also advised its members who may be affected to "seek legal advice immediately and take whatever action such legal counsel deems appropriate".

It also denied WICB claims that Ramnarine's departure towards the end of the mediation talks in Barbados had derailed the peace process. WIPA claimed both parties were bound by a confidentiality clause, but the WICB contravened this engagement by revealing details of the talks at separate press conferences in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago last Monday and Tuesday.

In addition, WIPA said WICB president Julian Hunte also made public a letter written to CARICOM chairman and Guyana president Bharrat Jagdeo and accused former board director Conde Riley of making copies of the WICB draft agreement public.

WIPA also pointed out that on August 31, when the WICB continued in mediation, negotiations did not cease. "In fact, a further proposal put by WIPA and a counter-proposal made by the WICB were discussed and the state of play at the end of the session on 31st August was that a proposal was on the table by the WICB for WIPA's consideration," a WIPA release said.

"When WIPA returned to talks on Tuesday morning 1st September 2009, led by Mr Ramnarine, who had returned in light of the new proposal put the previous day and a new document introduced late in the evening of 31st August, 2009 by the WICB by way of an email communication, the WICB was only prepared to deal with that new document.

"The WICB made it clear that the previous draft agreement, the proposal and counter proposal made on the 31st August, 2009 were no longer to be the subject of any negotiation.

"WIPA in turn informed the mediator and the WICB team that the content of the draft document submitted by the WICB on the 1st September 2009 could not be considered a serious and credible proffer for engagement."