Heads of the government of the Caribban Community want legislative best practice arrangements put in place for West Indies cricket which “is fast becoming a depleted stock,” and to this end a team which will be headed by St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonzalves who now heads CARICOM’s cricket sub-committee and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley will be meeting with officials of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in April in London.
Speaking on his return home on Wednesday night from a CARICOM meeting in Haiti, Dr Rowley said regional heads long concerned about the declining state of WI cricket had sought the legal advice of two senior counsel and their advice is – “that West Indies cricket is a public good.”
Rowley said leaders had – “adopted” the advice and “ will know inreract with West Indies cricket as a public good.” He explained that public good is personal pride that emanates from the success of West Indies cricket, it is “something that is enjoyed by all without anyone putting anything into it, and even those who put into it can enjoy it because it is available to everyone,” he said.
Rowley said currently, “West Indies cricket is run by a company based in the Cayman Islands and the products of the legacy of West Indies cricket is fast becoming a depleted stock.”
Regional leaders he said will now approach the ICC which runs international cricket and indicate to them the adoption of the position – “of the public good,” – and “the desperate urgency that is required for West Indies cricket to be saved by this legislative approach,”
He made it clear that Caribbean leaders have “no interest or desire” to manage West Indies cricket or the West Indies cricket team, but they do want to “intervene” to protect the public good by ensuring that there is “legislative best practice standard arrangements, by which this public good could be managed” and that the “value of the legacy can be protected and that there can be a future for West Indies cricket.”
The T&T Prime Minister said regional leaders are hoping that ICC officials will meet with them so that they can make their case on the “urgency that is required for West Indies cricket to be saved.”
Talks to stem the decline of West Indies cricket he said had become even more urgent given the dismal showing by WI cricketers in the qualifiers for the upcoming series “and losing to Afghanistan.”
Rowley said CARICOM leaders “are of the view that we cannot stand idly by and be told to mind our own business,” given the stake which they have in the game, “which is part of our heritage.”
He lamented that the failure of West Indies cricket today represented the “failure of the management of our own affairs because we do not have the proper regulatory and legislative framework to do that.” He said Cricket West Indies had apprached regional heads to appoint someone to sit on the Board “of what passes now for West Indies cricket,” but CARICOM leaders had declined the request.
Rowley said despite their concerns regional governments have no authority to dissolve the cricket board “we did not appoint them, this evolved over time,” and “if we go like a bull in a china shop in righteous indignation we could find ourselves running afoul of the ICC,” which could be detrimental to West Indies cricket, “that’s why we are going to talk to the ICC to make the necessary adjustments.”
Rowley said he was certain that “those who wish us well. All the cricketing world want West Indies cricket returned to where it used to be.”
Caribbean governments do not make direct financial contributions to West Indies cricket, but Rowley said regional governments do fund and support cricket as a popular sport through the school system, “most of what goes into the game at the youth level is state funded, many of the venues are state owned and therefore the state has a big stake in cricket.”