Trinidad and Tobago PM calls for unity in WI cricket
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, has asked the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) to end their ongoing feud for the betterment of cricket in the region. She also called for the implementation of the PJ Patterson report, which, authored by the former Jamaican Prime Minister, had recommended changes to the governance of West Indies cricket.
"I am calling on the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to improve their relationship in order to return cricket to its glory days. Both parties must have mutual trust, respect and full disclosure in order to achieve better relations," Persad-Bissessar said in Port of Spain. "Blame is the comfort of the weak. Change is the name of a warrior, so we must be willing to make that change that would make a difference and not keep blaming each other."
The WIPA and the WICB have been at loggerheads over the issue of player contracts as well as the running of West Indies cricket. Their stand-off reached its peak when several senior West Indies players boycotted the Test series against Bangladesh at home in 2009, and missed the entire tour. A second-string team was chosen to play the series, eventually resulting in a series defeat in both the Tests and ODIs.
"The game of cricket means so much to us, it defines us, it unites us and it gives us a sense of belonging. Caricom [The Caribbean Community] cannot produce anything that can resonate as cricket does in the region," Persad-Bissessar added.
In 2009, the PJ Patterson report had proposed the formation of a reconstituted body, West Indies cricket, consisting of a council and a board. The council, comprising 23 members - drawn from a wide cross-section of stakeholders - would meet once a year "to review all aspects of the game and its management". The new board, to run the day-to-day affairs, would number 13 under a president, vice-president and chief executive, to be appointed by the council. However, there was no headway made. "The WICB should table the PJ Patterson report for discussion and see what can be implemented from it, instead of leaving it sealed," Persad-Bissessar said.