Comfortable in Heaven
JCA president thwarts Neita's challenge 62-37 for 3rd-straight termFriday, March 01, 2019
BY SANJAY MYERS
Wilford “Billy” Heaven was yesterday evening re-elected president of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) after thwarting the robust challenge of Mark Neita.
Heaven garnered 62 votes in the election held at Medallion Hall Hotel, earning a third-straight two-year stint as JCA boss.
Neita, who was Heaven's second vice-president during the previous administration, got 37 delegates.
“We are elated; we have done our work. As I've always said, it's performance versus promise. I believe over the past two years we have done a fair amount of work, [but] we still have a far way to go in terms of our cricket development,” Heaven told journalists mere moments after the results were declared.
Neita was gracious in defeat.
“I want to congratulate President Heaven. The delegates have spoken, and it was a resounding victory for Mr Heaven, so I hope he has a great term, and that cricket is going to benefit,” said Neita.
It was a sweep for Heaven's executive.
Dr Donovan Bennett was returned unopposed to the first vice-president post.
Fritz Harris beat Nehemiah Perry 64-34 in the second vice-president race; Diann Campbell defeated Neil Reese 73-25 for the secretary spot; Clinton Clarke got the better of Major Aubyn Sibblies 71-26 in the battle for assistant secretary; Kerry Scott had a 75-23 victory over Nigel Logan for the position of treasurer; and Michael Atterbury turned back the challenge of Errol Moodie 68-29 for the post of assistant treasurer.
The election exercise formed part of the association's annual general meeting.
In the build-up to the election, Neita, the president of Melbourne Cricket Club and former national batsman, had said his decision to oppose Heaven was fuelled by dissatisfaction with the direction of Jamaica's cricket.
Heaven's detractors had noted the general decline in Jamaica's competitiveness on the field of play at senior and age-group levels, ultimately contributing to waning spectator and sponsorship interest.
Neita had promised that his focus as president would have been to implement measures to improve the standard of cricket and reignite interest in the sport.
Heaven had defended his time at the helm, pointing to the JCA's improved accountability, transparency and commitment to tax compliance under his watch.
He had also insisted that his drive to develop youth cricket will reap rewards in the longer term.
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