Cable and Wireless were not treated unfairly; the Digicel sponsorship is legal and is in the best interest of West Indies cricket; and the actions of West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) members and officials in those negotiations were above board and quite proper.

In their much-anticipated response to the Justice Anthony Lucky-led Sponsorsorship Negotiations Review Committee (SNRC) report, the WICB made those statements refuting the findings and imputations made by the Lucky-chaired committee that also included Gregory Georges and Avondale Thomas.

In a media release yesterday, the Board issued thre documents, including a response by former WICB president Teddy Griffith - implicated in the breach of the the WICB's Memorandum and Articles of Association by the SNRC report; comments by the WICB on the SNRC report; and a document announcing the release of the SNRC report on the regional board's website (www.windiescricket.com).

And while the WICB accepted the recommendations of the SNRC, that "brought to its attention certain deviations from the procedures as outlined in the Memorandum of Articles and Association of WICB Inc with regard to the execution of contracts", they disagreed with the assessment of Lucky's committee that the contract as exists now is "null and void" and "legally flawed".

"As pointed out by the WICB's legal adviser in the British Virgin Islands where the company is registered, these (deviations) did not invalidate the sponsorship agreement with Digicel. As such, the Board does not accept the committee's view that the contract was 'legally flawed'," the WICB disclosed.

Their commentary continued: "The Board also does not accept the committee's view that Cable and Wireless was treated unfairly in negotiations with the WICB and is confident that the agreement with Digicel is in the best interests of West Indies cricket."

The report went on to say that the WICB also suggested that the SNRC failed to conduct thorough investigation, observing there was" no apparent attempt by the committee to corroborate some of its evidence by reverting to officials of the Board" and that the committee also "made no apparent attempt to discuss with the WICB lawyers any of the matters relative to the contracts or the negotiation of those contracts".

"The Board is of the view that these two shortcomings affected adversely an appreciation of the Board's position in the negotiations," the document indicated. The Board said the SNRC report, which was handed over to new WICB president Ken Gordon on August 15, makes "imputations against the integrity of some of its officials, in particular its immediate past president (Griffith), the chairman of the Marketing Committee (Dave Cameron) and the CEO (Roger Brathwaite)" which the Board "strongly deplores".

"It should be noted that the directors of the WICB are drawn from its member boards whose representatives are involved at various levels within their countries. Given the relatively small size of our societies and economies, it is almost impossible for there not to be interaction at some level between directors and sponsors.

"The Board is clear that the actions of its members and officials were above board and quite proper," the statement concluded. The package of documents will be tabled at the next regular meeting of the board of directors of the WICB, scheduled for September 24 in Barbados, for follow-up action.

On June 1, the Lucky Committee was asked to review and examine all correspondence, transactions, communications, minutes, contracts, records, arrangements and any other relevant information concerning the negotiations for the renewal of the sponsorship arrangement with C&W; and the negotiations and conclusion of the sponsorship arrangement with Digicel.

They were then asked to determine whether:

1. the WICB treated Cable and Wireless fairly in the negotiations;

2. an improper relationship exists between WICB and Digicel;

3. the new sponsorship arrangement was in the best interests of the WICB and continued cricket development in the West Indies; and

4. payments were improperly accepted by members of the WICB as an inducement (members to include Board members, members of the marketing committee, and executive staff).