I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” – 1 Timothy 2
A web definition of governance is “How an organization controls its actions. Governance describes the mechanisms an organization uses to ensure that its constituents follow its established processes and policies. It is the primary means of maintaining oversight and accountability in a loosely coupled organizational structure. A proper governance strategy implements systems to monitor and record what is going on, takes steps to ensure compliance with agreed policies, and provides for corrective action in cases where the rules have been ignored or misconstrued”.
People are our most important asset and we must develop them to the fullest. The following extract from “What Australian Workers Think of Their Bosses”. Business Review Weekly (James 1992) is instructive: “Organisations commonly stress the importance of their people in the realisation of the corporate vision. Yet, the readiness of people to commit to a vision depends partly on the quality of their managers’ leadership and interpersonal skills. In the Australian context, some evidence suggests that many managers are failing to provide the level of leadership and people management competence that employees want and need”.
Since people are at the heart of any organisation we may conclude that Governance is indeed the effective management of relationships. I further surmise that lack of good governance is the curse behind the observed chaos in West Indies cricket. What can we do to correct it?
Last week I received an interesting email giving a commentary on the Governance of West Indies Cricket by Charles Wilkin, Q.C., a Senior Partner of the leading St. Kitts-Nevis law firm. He is a former national cricket captain and most recently he was Chairman of the St. Kitts-Nevis LOC for the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup. Mr Wilkin currently serves on the Marketing Committee of WICB.
He commented on the appointment of a high powered Governance Review Committee headed by former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson to report and advise the WICB. He stated: “That Committee travelled the entire region, consulted widely and at great expense, and submitted in October 2007 a 139 page report. That report was duly published on the WICB website and considered by the Board in February 2008…While some recommendations of the Governance Committee have been already implemented and a new draft strategic plan has been published since, the most significant recommendations of the Governance Committee seem to have been ignored by the Board”.
“For example, the Governance Committee recommended radical changes to the structure and composition of the WICB in such a way that the 6 territorial Boards would lose absolute executive control of the organization. This recommendation was definitely not one of those which the Board said in February that it had already implemented and it is not incorporated into the Draft Strategic Plan…You do not have to be a rocket scientist to realize that the board does not accept the Governance Committee’s restructuring proposals for the Board, although it will not openly admit this…the simple reality is that ordinary men do not relinquish power easily and often have to be pushed to do so”.
“In my humble opinion it is time for the people of the region (and their representative governments) who are the biggest investors in W.I. Cricket by way of ownership of most of the stadia in the region (and having spent hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrading them or in new stadia) and to whom West Indies Cricket belongs, to pressure the WICB to take radical decisions needed to transform the WICB from a business run as an amateur club by a voluntary Board, to a globally competitive business run as a successful enterprise by professional management”.
My view is that the governments of the West Indies, acting on behalf of the West Indian people, should intervene in an attempt to arrest the haemorrhaging and ensure that the structure is changed so that good governance may be introduced to enhance our stakeholders’ chances of recovery from the depths of despair.
The role of a government should be to provide regulatory and service functions aimed towards creating a user-friendly enabling environment for its people. The role of the private sector is to expertly manage the resources available as we aspire to fulfil the mission of the organisation. What is therefore needed is a smart partnership between the cricketing private sector stakeholders and the government if we are to effectively redress the situation.
As the governance committee recommended the WICB board should consist of a nucleus of one member from each of the 6 territorial boards but that this nucleus should not form a majority among stakeholders. The other members of the Board would be representatives of the other stakeholders including the players’ association, the umpires’ association, sponsors and cricket supporters. The Association of Caribbean Media Workers must lead the charge and aggressively and continually bring these governance issues to the fore in the media and hope that the partnership of government and the private sector responds positively as a result of the accumulation of public exposure.
Let us pray for all men and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.