Neita knocks on Heaven's door in JCA race

Friday, January 18, 2019

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Mark Neita, who recently announced his candidacy for the Jamaica Cricket Association's (JCA) top job, says “fundamental” differences with incumbent President Wilford “Billy” Heaven forced his hand.

“I am officially announcing tonight my bid to become president of the JCA. I will not elaborate on the reasons why now, but in spite of my respect for the current president, we have a fundamental difference of opinion on the direction that cricket, youth, club and parish development should be going in Jamaica,” Neita, ironically the second vice-president in Heaven's administration, said.

“Our national cricket is doing very poorly and so the time for change is now,” he declared during the Melbourne Cricket Club annual awards dinner at the club's Courtney Walsh Drive base on Saturday.

In paving the way for his announcement, Neita outlined progress he has made in rehabilitating Melbourne CC.

A known major difference between the pair relates to the cricket development structure island wide.

Neita, a former national representative and president of Melbourne, wants developmental focus and accompanying resources to be turned to the clubs and parishes.

Heaven, the CHASE Fund chief executive officer, is a proponent of local franchise cricket, for example the Super League, which is in its second staging.

Heaven, coming to the end of his second consecutive two-year tenure, had earlier given an address at the function in the capacity of JCA president.

“We have positioned and redefined the game for sustainability,” Heaven argued.

“We have a business model and a cricket development model. We have increased the income-generating capacity with the installation of floodlights at Sabina Park, which is now a big income earner.

“Our taxes are paid and returns have been filed and we have put in systems of accountability,” Heaven added.

Since the awards function, both have accused each other of inappropriately using the platform to seek political gain.

The JCA annual general meeting and elections are constitutionally due at the end of the month, but sources say it could be held in late February to allow time for administrative housekeeping.

—Dwayne Richards

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