“Get wisdom—it’s worth more than money;   choose insight over income every time” – Proverbs 16:16

Last Friday night Conde Riley, one of the Barbados Cricket Association’s representatives on the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), called a press Conference to announce his resignation from the WICB. He stated that the reason for his resignation was the poor communication between the WICB and the people of the West Indies to whom cricket belongs.  He communicated information which he thought should be shared with the people of the West Indies and advised the WICB President of his resignation.

H.E. Denis Kellman, Ambassador of Barbados to Caricom, in reporting to the Press, alluded to the fact that the current WICB management is a continual global embarrassment. He said that it is about time that the Caribbean governments recognise that cricket is a business, which belongs to the people of the West Indies, and that the Governments should intervene to take corrective action.

Also on Friday, there was a third report attributed to Tim May, Chief Executive of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (FICA).  It stated that “the West Indies Cricket Board has breached an ICC agreement by picking up a ‘third rate’ side for this month’s ICC Champions Trophy”.

Some changes have to be made. The people of the West Indies cannot continue to endure this chronic state of cricket bungling and embarrassment.  As the guest on the “Best and Mason” local call-in radio programme last Tuesday, I radically proposed the dismantling and rebuilding of the WICB and the West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA), replacing them with a new governance structure which would enfranchise the supporters of West Indies cricket. I sensed that my hosts were a bit shocked at the radical approach, but I likened this to a cancer which continues to destroy one cell after another if left unattended and which must be arrested by radical treatment if the patient is to survive.

First the dismantling process:  Whatever organisation is established to run West Indies cricket, it must be well capitalised. At present this is done through the governments of the Caribbean and sponsors of West Indies cricket. In support of Ambassador Kellman’s view I think that the governments of the Caribbean, on behalf of the people of the West Indies, must use their financial clout and intervene, together with the sponsors of West Indies cricket, to arrest the cancer that is killing the institution of West Indies cricket.

Since the WICB currently exists through agreement with cricket associations in Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, the Windward Islands, the Leeward Islands and Jamaica, the appropriate government(s) within which jurisdictions these associations lie, will have to jointly and severally participate in this dismantling process.

An interim governance arrangement which enfranchises the West Indies cricket supporters will have to be put in place by a Trust, led by Trustees who are respected Caribbean business persons, to ensure the seamless transition from dismantling to the rebuilding process.

Now the rebuilding process:  This interim governance structure will of course require a management team which will then ensure that no member of WIPA is selected to play representative West Indies cricket in the context of the ICC’s programme. Assuming that some “first team” WIPA members are interested in continuing their cricketing careers, this action should “break the back” of WIPA and remove the potential for a “tail wagging the dog” syndrome which is classically not good governance practice.  It is expected that such members will then make themselves available to the interim management for WI selection in the ICC programme. Of course, the governments of the Caribbean will have to liaise with ICC and apprise them of the impending process from dismantling to rebuilding and seek their support.

It should be noted here that the right of representation of cricketers by a Players’ Association is to be encouraged and the establishment of a replacement WIPA will be one of the main items on the agenda of the interim administration. This relationship between the interim management and the new WIPA must be a smart partnership based on the tenets of a shared vision, a code of ethics, networks, equity, trust, cultural diversity, longevity, fair play and values. These ten factors distinguish between a partnership and a smart partnership and indeed constitute the smart partnership philosophy which is supported globally by the Commonwealth Partnership for Technology Management with its hub in London, U.K. This philosophy should constitute a “win-win” and “prosper thy neighbour” relationship among the new WICB and WIPA.

The rebuilding process will then be finessed by the Trust as it transitions from an interim organisation into the new WICB with a strong smart partnership with the new WIPA. The Trust will be responsible for policy, approval of plans, monitoring of management; and it will be capitalised by the governments of the Caribbean on behalf of the people of the West Indies, by sponsors, and maybe by individual subscriptions from the wider cadre of cricket supporters in the West Indies and the Diaspora through an innovative process. The trust will be private sector led and will not micromanage the functions of management. A management team will be selected to manage the organisation and representatives from the six cricketing associations in the West Indies will be asked to sit on various management committees as appropriate.

In implementing change, move systematically along the Discovery Spectrum: Data –Information – Knowledge – Understanding – Insight – Wisdom.