A wasted year of his life is how former Jamaica Prime Minister PJ Patterson has described the time spent working on recommendations designed to revive West Indies cricket, but which have been ignored by the regional board since the proposals wee made almost five years ago.
Officially entitled the Governance Committee on West Indies Cricket Report of October 2007, but popularly known as the Patterson Report, the project was commissioned by then West Indies Cricket Board (WCB) president Ken Gordon and examined the restructuring of the regional body for the sport.
The report was mandated to make recommendations to improve the overall operations, effectiveness, governance and performance of the West Indies cricket team, strengthen public support and enhance its credibility.
The WICB has come under criticism for its apparent dismissal of the report while leading Caribbean voices have called for the implementation of the recommendations made by the team which was headed by Patterson.
In 2009, WICB president Dr Julian Hunte asserted that most of the recommendations (47 of 65) had been implemented — a claim dismissed by Gordon.
The continuous decline in the fortunes of the regional team and the dispute between the Board and former captain Chris Gayle, which lasted for more than a year, drew the report into sharp focus yet again. Patterson, meanwhile, implied that his time could have been better spent.
"I wasted a year after retirement; I must tell you the truth. I won't conceal it," Patterson told reporters at a special sitting of the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange yesterday at the company's Beechwood Avenue headquarters.
"When I retired in March 2006 I was ready to chill, watch the World Cup competition which I had helped to organise and make a reality and then I was asked to do this and I really took it on not just because I liked cricket, but it's of great, great importance to us in the Caribbean," Patterson said.
He said changes were necessary because of the role cricket plays in the Caribbean.
"It's the only game in which we have a regional representation and it's one that keeps the Caribbean together and I see sports entertainment as part of the niche and I'm looking at cricket.
"The biggest market in this hemisphere is not in the Caribbean. It is in Canada and the United States for which the West Indies Cricket Board is responsible. It was very important for economic reasons as well."
Patterson asserted that the WICB failed to implement the recommendations because it would call for a level of transparency its members seemed unwilling to allow.
"They pigeon-holed the report. The main reason is because it was recommending changes of structure that would have resulted in some degree of openness and accountability which do not now exist in the present situation," he said.
Meanwhile, Patterson said that Gayle's return and his very presence in the team transcended the runs he puts on the scoreboard.
"Chris Gayle has shown by his performance what it is we have just wasted for the last 18 months over foolishness. If you watch him, it makes a difference. You need the senior people. I don't know if anything will flow out of that."
The affable former government head said it was incumbent on those in leadership positions to respond positively to the changes around them.
"We're not realising that there are changes taking place in the global environment and in whatever we are doing, we have to make changes to respond to that environment, and cricket is no exception," he said.