Cricket

JCA secretary looks to put house in order

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, December 03, 2013    

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THE recently re-elected secretary of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), Fritz Harris, says the immediate focus of the Wilford 'Billy' Heaven-led administration is to create ways to improve the state of the sport in the island.

Harris, who was also secretary under outgoing president Lyndel Wright, beat challenger Junior Stewart in a one-sided race, to hold onto his position.

Obviously satisfied with the outcome, Harris brushed aside any notion that he will pause to celebrate.

"My concern really is the state of the association. The outgoing board did a relatively good job but we have to look at what lies ahead and put in the hard work," he said after the elections last Thursday.

"We have just concluded a year where we had serious challenges... the cricket is not in the best of health," Harris added.

Heaven, who defeated former first vice-president Milton Henry -- to virtually mirror the respective resounding victories of members of his entire executive slate -- to land the president's job, said he has lined up several targets on his administration's priority list.

Chief among them is the installation of floodlights at Sabina Park, hiring a chief executive officer to run the business of the association and implementing an effective schedule for local cricket competitions.

"We got some brilliant people on the team and to be frank with you, it's not (only about) 'Billy' Heaven, it's about the team that 'Billy' Heaven leads. We'll be looking at lights, and the various systems at Sabina (and) the staffing at Sabina Park and the whole issue of [having] a CEO.

"In short order we have to look at how the cricket competitions are set up. We need a schedule of competitions that will be played over the next 12 months and that has to be in the context of the regional and international schedule," he said.

Heaven added that his team will attend a retreat to review the content of their election manifesto since that is what delegates "bought into" when they voted overwhelmingly in his favour.

The lack of lights at Sabina Park has been at the forefront since the failure to put in the infrastructure for the region's hosting of the 2007 ICC World Cup.

In May of this year, Wright, the JCA boss at the time, announced that Sabina Park Holdings, the entity which manages the venue and its facilities, had a deal with a financier and contractor for a light installation project.

However, three weeks later, the partnership collapsed in a heap and players, fans and potential event organisers were left floundering in further darkness.

Additionally, the JCA has been without a CEO since early 2011 when Robert Bryan handed in his resignation to then president Paul Campbell after well, less than a year in the job.

With regards to club cricket, many critics have cited lack of proper scheduling to allow for preparation for regional tournaments, little or no sponsorship for local competitions and the sparse number of matches available to aspiring international cricketers.

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