“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1
In any organization, it is necessary to have a strong corporate governance structure. It is not sufficient for sustainable business success, however, the organization must also be strong in the business systems of finance, marketing, people development and operations.
In the remarkable period between 1980 and 1995, referred to as the “Glory Days of West Indies Cricket”, West Indies were undefeated in 27 consecutive Test series and two one off Tests against South Africa in 1992 and Sri Lanka in 1993.
Cricket is a business and, since then, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), the entity responsible for West Indies cricket has not been able to sustain the achievement of success in either cricketing glory or profitability. Indeed, West Indies cricket since its glory days has gone year after year from one crisis to another with pockets of success which kept some of us still interested in following the performances of our team.
At this point, may I congratulate the management and players of the West Indies Under-19 team on their the recent performance to emerge as 2016 World Champions.
The WICB, because of a structure which disenfranchises most of those who patronize West Indies cricket, has been a law unto itself and has not seen it fit to extricate itself from its egotistic cocoon to address the many voices of concern in the region and beyond.
At the 27th Inter-Sessional Caricom Heads of Government Conference in Belize last week, Caribbean leaders have decided to step into the fray to address the weakness in governance of West Indies cricket.
In reporting on the conference, the Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart stated to the Barbados Government Information service that “an issue that generated much heat was the issue of cricket governance. Now, it is well known that there has been something in the nature of a stand-off between the WICB and the Caricom Heads over the state of West Indies cricket and the state of cricket governance that the WICB is displaying. Heads had to recognize, of course, that Heads of Government do not want to run West Indies cricket and that would be, of course, most undesirable.
“But, as the authentic voices of the people of the Caribbean who patronize West Indies cricket and who therefore have a vested interest in it, Heads of Government have felt at least the WICB should be sensitized to the concerns of the Heads of Government and by extension to the concerns of the people in the region. ”
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago, who attended the Belize meeting, revealed the Caricom action during a media briefing at Piarco International Airport upon his return last Thursday night. He indicated the final ball in this over will be bowled when Caricom leaders assemble in Guyana in July 2016 for their regular meeting.
Referring to a report from Caricom’s sub-committee on cricket, chaired by Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister Rowley declared, in summary, the decision of the Heads: (1) the recommendations of the sub-committee be implemented; (2) the WICB be dissolved and an interim body be put in place to begin restructuring the management of West Indies cricket; (3) the WICB’s position to cherry-pick the recommendations and seeking to impose upon the heads is unacceptable; (4) the WICB’s decision that nothing is wrong with the management of West Indies cricket is unacceptable; (5) there is nothing further to be gained by discussing and subjecting the recommendations (of the report) to further vacillation; (6) WICB is in fact a body corporate outside of the reach of any interest of Heads of Government in the region and this is unacceptable; (7) Heads will go over the head of the WICB and will inform the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India of the position of the Heads of Government of the region; (8) Caricom leaders will take legal counsel as to the position being taken by the Board with respect to this product that is West Indies cricket; and (9) the Heads of Caricom have decided that the time has come for serious action in trying to save West Indies cricket.
My column, dated September 7, 2009 and entitled “Dismantling and rebuilding of WICB and WIPA”, is relevant.
The solution is simple conceptually but it may not be easy under existing legislation. In summary: (1) set up a West Indies Cricketing Trust (owned by a Trust on behalf of those who patronize West Indies cricket) which is in the interest of the players – this would make the WICB and West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) non viable; (2) seek public and private sector investment finance to address the projected cash flow for West Indies cricket; (3) liaise with the ICC and the professional leagues (a) for recognition of the Trust as the new body that represents West Indies cricket and (b) to rationalize the supply and demand for player services; (5) Take over useful assets and liabilities from the WICB, including access to training facilities; and (6) employ change-management professionals to increase the chances of an effective transition.
Let us commit ourselves to the faith that is needed to achieve great results as we transition from the WICB and the WIPA to the West Indies Cricketing Trust. Let us manage small wins as we build on the Under-19 West Indies success to pursue big dreams for the future and bask in the revelry of those glory days again.
(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.)