Sports

Jamaica could send Cameron packing

BY STEVE BROWN

Monday, March 18, 2019

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When the election for the president of Cricket West Indies is held in Jamaica, on Sunday March 24. Jamaica's vote will be critical as to whether incumbent Dave Cameron is returned for a fourth term or challenger Ricky Skeritt is given the nod.

Cameron has been nominated by the Windward Islands, Barbados, Guyana, and yes, Jamaica cricket boards. Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Islands cricket boards nominated Skeritt.

There is every indication that Guyana, Barbados and the Windward Islands will vote for Cameron. Skeritt is assured of the votes from the Leeward Islands and Trinidad and Tobago. However, at present the cricketing public has no idea which direction Jamaica will vote.

Just days before the Jamaica Cricket Association held its election, in what can be deemed an attempt to assuage a tense situation that was developing among delegates over exactly who Jamaica will be supporting and a possible mutiny from voters, Jamaica went ahead and nominated Cameron. A few days later, re-elected president Billy Heaven in a newspaper interview made it clear that Jamaica's support for the leadership of Cricket West Indies will not be a Jamaica thing.

Many found the comments to be aghast. It is, however, widely known in the region that the relations between Cameron and Heaven is acrimonious and could well have nothing to do with cricket, but superciliousness on the part of some local administrators. In fact the only people in the cricketing circle who were bamboozled into believing by nominating Cameron the JCA was going to support him unequivocally, were the 62 delegates who voted to re-elect Heaven.

It is rather outlandish and seriously borders on integrity, to nominate someone for a position and then make an about-turn days later on the basis of wanting to hear from both candidates. This raises the question, why nominate first?

Many will disagree with how Heaven runs the affairs of cricket in Jamaica, but no one can question his integrity. This type of behaviour can undoubtably cause questions to be asked about a character and reputation he spent years building.

Dave Cameron is a Jamaican and there are some in cricketing circles in Jamaica including some at the JCA level who are of the view that he has not treated Jamaica well when it comes on to the allocation of games when teams tour the West Indies, and unlike the other territories in the region Jamaica should not have to bid for games; and more Jamaicans should be given positions at various levels in West Indies cricket.

My last check on the nationalities of James Adams and Carole Beckford, the director of cricket and the head of marketing, respectively, indicate that they are Jamaicans. The last time I checked the definition of West Indies, it was construed to be a group of islands in the Caribbean. Cameron is the president of Cricket West Indies. He and his board cannot have the positions replete with Jamaicans.

The last time Cameron was challenged for the presidency of West Indies cricket, he made a presentation to the JCA in person while his challenger, Joel Garner, made his by telephone. The JCA gave the nod to Garner but that was quickly overturned by an extraordinary general meeting called for by some clubs and parish administrators.

One thing is certain, it is highly likely that whichever of the two candidates Jamaica will vote for, that decision will not be made until the ninth hour which would close the gap for any extraordinary meeting, particularly if the vote is for Skeritt. Such action could well be seen as betrayal to the delegates who recently voted at the JCA elections, as many were of the view that by nominating Cameron, the support would be automatic.

CAMERON VS SKERITT

Of the two candidates, Cameron has demonstrated he is no meathead and that he has the ability to continue moving West Indies cricket forward. His tenure as leader has been challenged by some Caribbean prime ministers who even went as far as trying to get the International Cricket Council (ICC) to have him removed.

Their invective criticisms of his leadership style can only be described as pathetic. If they had worked on providing infrastruture in their countries and worked on Caricom support for cricket, with the same fervour as their vitriols, West Indies cricket would be in a much better state.

Inspite of the strong aversion towards him, his focus during his tenure has been aimed at moving the cricket in the right direction. He should be allowed to continue this process.

In the court of cricket in the region, Skeritt has no locus standi. His role as manager for the senior West Indies cricket team was nothing but a monumental failure. This includes his inability to exercise proper management over the West Indies in 2004 during England tour of the West Indies.

The cricketing world will never forget how four players left the changing room at Sabina Park, made their way into the party stand after we were embarrassingly pulverised by England in the first Test match. These players should have been in some serious discussions with the team management led by Skeritt about what caused them to be bowled out for 47. Instead, they were seen partying.

It was after the second Test match of that tour in Trinidad and Tobago Skeritt resigned his position as manager for the team. In his letter to the board, Skeritt said, “Events following the first Test have led me to review my role as team manager. I regret that I was unable to instil in the entire team the fullest understanding of their obligations on and off the field to the people of the West Indies.”

If Mr Skeritt did not possess the ability to manage 13 players in a 15 x 15 dressing room, how is he going to manage the affairs of cricket across the region? What has he done to prove that he can exercise better control over a few players, let alone heading cricket in the region? This is archetypal of someone presenting a car damaged beyond repair and trying to convince everyone of its readiness for the road.

When the votes are counted, it would be absolutely crestfallen if Jamaica votes against Cameron because of perceived issues not related to cricket, but to satisfy a particular agenda. It also should be noted, if Jamaica fails to back Cameron, it will be the first time in memory someone is nominated by a regional board and not supported by that board in the elections. It would also be the first time a sitting president or nominated candidate is not supported by his own territory.


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