Battle lines drawn

Cameron, Skerritt cross swords in election for Cricket West Indies president

Sunday, March 24, 2019

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It is anyone's guess who will come away with the Cricket West Indies (CWI) top job, but both Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron and Ricky Skerritt are cautiously confident of victory ahead of today's election at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.

Cameron, the incumbent, is seeking re-election for a fourth consecutive term at the helm of the regional body, alongside his vice-president and running mate Emmanuel Nanthan. The Jamaican and his vice were first elected in 2013 when they toppled former St Lucian diplomat Julian Hunte, to whom Cameron served as vice-president from 2007 until he took office.

“At this point, and I think you heard the vice-president say it, we can't lose the election... obviously we would like to hear that Jamaica is in support going forward, but at this point in time we can't lose the election.

“We have six secured votes, and not just votes, but you see the leadership of those organisations coming out in support of us,” Cameron said at a Town Hall meeting at Sabina Park on Thursday.

However, Skerritt, a former tourism and sports minister of St Kitts and Nevis, along with vice-presidential running mate Dr Kishore Shallow, is bidding to prevent Cameron from winning that fourth consecutive term as CWI president.

Skerritt, like others around the region including three CARICOM prime ministers, have been critical of Cameron's leadership of the organisation.

“After six years as president, Dave Cameron's intention to implement sweeping changes to the democratic process of decision-making within West Indies cricket is troubling. His desire to lead CWI as a full-time executive is not reflective of the West Indies cricket ethos,” Skerritt said when initially declaring his intentions to challenge for the top job.

Cameron, 47, has been defending his record in the run-up to the elections and is already looking at ways to move the body forward in the coming years.

He is confident that his performance and the overall professional and technical improvements seen in West Indies cricket will encourage his peers to again give him the nod.

“We are very well supported within the organisation — and this was just a demonstration, not just to Jamaica, but the entire region that everybody has bought into the vision that we presented in 2013, and we are moving forward.

“If you noticed, I have not been campaigning. We have three of the territorial boards coming out and clearly saying that they are in support of the plans and the way forward. That means we have six of the possible 12 votes,” Cameron noted.

Skerritt, 62, pointed to his tenure as West Indies manager as a period of relative success, unlike the present era of West Indies cricket.

“While I was team manager, there was zero industrial unrest by players. We were proud ambassadors for West Indies cricket globally. This period was a time when we were still winning more matches than we lost and players were still respected by the CWI leadership,” Skerritt said.

Each of the six territorial bodies, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guyana, Leeward Islands and Windward Islands will have two votes at the AGM, with either candidate needing a majority to be declared winner.

The election exercise will be part of the annual general meeting which begins at 9:00 am.

Skerritt, the current president of the St Vincent & The Grenadines Cricket Association and a member of the CWI board, has already received the backing of Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Islands, while Guyana, Barbados and the Windward Islands have thrown their support behind Cameron.

Cameron may not have the support of his home territory of Jamaica and these votes will prove crucial in the outcome of the election.

Former West Indies players Deryck Murray and Roger Harper are the two latest cricketing personalities to come forward in support of the Skerritt/Shallow candidacy.

This follows similar endorsements over the past week by legendary former players Sir Vivian Richards, Sir Andy Roberts and Clive Lloyd, along with two-time Twenty20 World Cup-winning captain, Darren Sammy.

So far, veteran former Windies left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul, along with former speedster Tino Best, have publicly endorsed Cameron and vice-president Emmanuel Nanthan.

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