Broadening cricket voting pool a necessity, says new president


Sunday, March 31, 2019

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Giving more members of the Caribbean cricket fraternity the opportunity to vote at annual general meetings of Cricket West Indies is among the plans outlined by new Cricket West Indies president Ricardo “Ricky” Skerritt in a recent interview with the Jamaica Observer.

Kittitian Skerritt, who defeated Jamaican Whycliffe Cameron at the annual general meeting in St Andrew last Sunday, polled eight votes to Cameron's four. There were 12 votes available, two each to the six member territories of the Caribbean region — Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, the Leeward Islands, the Windward Islands, Barbados, and Jamaica.

Skerritt, and his running mate, new vice-president Dr Kishore Shallow, were supported in identical voting fashion by the Leeward Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, the Windward Islands, and Jamaica, while Barbados and Guyana felt that Cameron and his vice-presidential candidate Emmanuel Nantan were doing a good job after three terms in charge and should continue.

While he does not yet have a formula going forward to have a broader representation of balloting, Skerritt is adamant that the current system is not the best and is skewed toward the incumbent.

“These are highly technical but urgent matters. From what we have just been through, the campaign process, the lobbying process for votes and the actual implementation of the electoral process, it can't stand, it needs to be revitalised, renewed and improve.

“We have to bring global best practices to bear and we have to focus on what works in the interest of cricket. This is not a if or but about it. What Ricky Skerritt and Kishore Shallow just went through, and the hurdles we had to climb, the challenges we had to face in a cricket organisation is unacceptable.

“We won against all odds, we won because of my own experience, politically, the message that we had, and the relationships that we had. We were uniquely placed. Otherwise, there was no hope. The process must not be so heavily stacked in favour of the incumbent and that situation has to be completely reviewed as quickly as possible,” Skerritt told the Sunday Observer.

He wants a deeper look too, to be taken at the general electoral process.

The number of voters is only one of the issues. Parallel to the cricket focus, there has to be some urgent review of the electoral process. There are recommendations that have been made, we are going to have to go through and see what makes sense under the circumstances,” the new Cricket West Indies president stated.

Skerritt was also warm to the idea of having a summit on the future of West Indies cricket, which would involve a wide cross section of the cricket fraternity.

The last broad-based summit on West Indies cricket was held in the 1990s under the leadership of Pat Rousseau.

“One is overdue,” said Skerritt “because remember we have also campaigned on the grounds of transparency and accountability and I have said that the leadership of the organisation has to make themselves more easily accessible to folks like the media; the selection process for teams and so on needs to be explained … the selectors need to explain their decisions, even if people will have to agree to disagree, but this is such an important entity.

“The prime ministers have referred to West Indies cricket as a public good. The political process that we have been just through has opened my eyes even more to that phenomenon. I now understand even better and I thought I was a fairly well exposed guy, but I now understand better what is a public good.

“Between 3 o'clock Sunday afternoon and 8 o'clock Monday morning I received over 600 messages, e-mails and phone calls. I responded to over 500 by Monday morning. The people out in the Caribbean love cricket more than most other things in their lives. Cricket West Indies cannot for a second believe that cricket is just a business and that cricket is only owned by Cricket West Indies.

“If it's one change in attitude that I will champion over the next two years it's that,” Skerritt said.

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