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What ‘set up’?! Best counters Wattley’s claim of treachery in Skerritt’s CWI triumph

Newly elected Cricket West Indies President Ricky Skerritt is under no illusions about the pace at which he will be able to effect change. But is that what he should be worried about? Might there not be other, more pressing concerns that should give him pause?

If Garth Wattley is to be believed, the answer is an emphatic yes. The former CWI director needs to be ever mindful, says he, that people within CWI and without don’t change their ugly habits.

Photo: New Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt.

Here is what the Express Sports Editor had to say in his A Different Spin column in Wednesday’s edition of his paper:

“The same persons who set up Cameron,” he writes, “will likely be sitting in the boardroom with Skerritt and Dr Shallow over the next two years, planning the ‘way forward’ for Windies’ (sic) cricket. So if as they say, leopards don’t change their spots, then why should anyone doubt that the intrigue that eventually brought about Dave Cameron’s downfall, won’t (sic) get in the way of Skerritt’s efforts to do the right thing.”

The thinking is even sloppier than the punctuation. Where is the evidence that Cameron was ‘set up’? Whatever happened to ‘voted out’—and, in my view, deservedly so?

Where is the evidence that Cameron was making ‘efforts to do the right thing’, assuming, of course, that the right thing is not making himself into the executive president of a public good?

Why do off-the-table agreements not get styled ‘intrigue’ when Cameron is re-elected but qualify for the pejorative substantive when he gets his ass licked—in quite another sense?

“With a secret ballot in effect, it was easy for the treachery (…) to take place, the knife being plunged into Cameron’s back in the dark of night,” Wattley continues.

Photo: Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Dave Cameron (left) presents a token to St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves during a WICB-CARICOM meeting.
(Courtesy Windies Cricket)

Treachery, Mr Wattley? My impression was that the voting representatives were in the meeting to select the candidate(s) best qualified, in the judgement of their boards, to do the job of leading the organisation for the next two years. Clearly I was wrong.

“These men came with a mandate from their boards and associations, we were led to believe.”

Led to believe by whom? Who was it who said publicly that his side had six votes and could not lose? Methinks, Mr Wattley, that it was not Ricky Skerritt.

And how dare you assert, Mr Wattley, without adducing so much as a shred of evidence, that the votes cast were not, as you implicitly conclude, in accordance with the mandate from the respective boards?

The delegates voted as they saw fit and not as each had been instructed to do by his board? Really, Mr Wattley? And all hell has not yet broken loose?

The truth is that I might have been willing to forgive Mr Wattley all those peccadilloes; in my view, however, his conclusion crossed the line.

“It would be a major victory both for him,” he writes of President Skerritt, “and the game if in 2021, the cricket fraternity finds him to be a man of his word.”

Photo: Cricket West Indies (CWI) President Ricky Skerritt (left) and Vice-President Dr Kishore Shallow.

The implication is beneath contempt. Perhaps worse. That, however, is a matter for Ricky Skerritt.

And here is something else that belongs on Skerritt’s filled-to-overflowing plate. He has already told us that, under his stewardship, the changes they are a-coming.

So the burning question is this: Will the new brooms sweep clean? And this: How far-reaching are the ones the new pair at the helm are prepared to make?

Skerritt has so far stopped short of committing to implementation of the much ballyhooed Patterson Report. Or of the later Barriteau Report, which recommended the immediate dissolution of the regional umbrella body.

Under his leadership, he said, the CWI will “dust off the 2017 report, which is the most recent summary [of the Patterson and Barriteau reports and several others], and use it as a starting-point to see which of the governance changes (…) we can implement as quickly as possible.”

One such governance change promised by the newly elected leadership partnership during the campaign was a term limit of six years. Cameron’s tenure provides ample evidence of just how much damage can be done to the brand in that time span so, when he was still in charge, that seemed like an attractive proposition. And a necessary one.

Photo: A fan makes a list of demands to the CWI leadership during CPL action at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain on 7 August 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

But a great deal of successful burnishing of the brand can also take place in six years. And should the new partnership deliver on its promise, it is entirely possible that, in 2025, the West Indian fans will be clamouring for the Skerritt/Shallow tandem not to be put out to pasture. Not yet. At least, not definitively.

So I want to end by warning the good gentlemen now leading us that we shall hold them to their promise. But we also expect them to be so skilful in framing their proposed constitutional and governance changes that we aren’t left with no choice between Romulus and Remus running Rome and the rapacious barbarians/traders at the gate.

Rome, after all, was neither built nor re-built in a day. And, long though six years may seem, it just may not be time enough to complete the massive rebuilding job that lies ahead.

In the end, however, what will determine the enormousness of that task is the size of the two men newly elected to lead us back to cricket’s promised land.

And the fact, Mr Wattley, that the pair are more than likely to prove men of their word.

About Earl Best

Earl Best
Earl Best taught cricket, French, football and Spanish at QRC for many years and has written consistently for the Tapia and the Trinidad and Tobago Review since the 1970's. He is also a former sports editor at the Trinidad Guardian and the Trinidad Express and is now a senior lecturer in Journalism at COSTAATT.

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13 comments

  1. Love to thank, Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven, and the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board, Leeward Islands Cricket Association, and Windward Islands Cricket Board of Control for voting for Ricky Skerritt and Kishore Shallow. It is unfortunate, Guyana Cricket Board and Barbados Cricket Association for whatever their reasons choose to continue the downward spiral and dehumanizing behaviors of Cameron.
    What must Ricky Skerritt and Kishore Shallow and Cricket West Indies do to encourage the fans to increase attendances at regional and international games? Unless and until the administrators in Barbados and Guyana are removed from their positions and the pattern of behaviors has been replaced with the greatest good of West Indies cricket; the issues facing West Indies cricket administration will not be solved. Also, all of those officials who colluded with Cameron to dismiss the concerns and commitments express by CARICOM heads of states to improve the climate and condition of cricket on and off the playing field; must also be replaced. They are all part of the problems. They can’t be expected to participate in effecting solutions. It is past due for implementation of a number of factors, various commissions, pointed out were necessary to move forward. Other unheard voices need to be heard such as fans, businesses, umpires, West Indies Players’ Association, Hilbert Foster and Anil Beharry of Berbice Cricket Board, Demerara Cricket Board, Essequibo Cricket Board, Sint Eustatius & Saba, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Guadeloupe , Martinique, Suriname, Bahamas, Bermuda, and Cayman Islands.
    Love for Cricket West Indies to increase the talent pool for the regional four days matches by perhaps as many as four teams with the focus of looking at talent often disregarded by the selectors of affiliate boards for various reasons.
    Selectors have a history of frustrating young cricketers into giving up on their dreams.
    It is past due to stop giving young cricketers, cups of coffee. Young cricketers, 17-23 must be evaluated over at least season of games. Gridon Pope, Taryck Gabriel, Keacy Carty, Roland Cato, Alick Athanaze, Jeremy Solozano, Amir Jangoo, Telvin Imlach, Gudakesh Motie, and all 17-23 years old others need to be exposed to full seasons of regional competition. It’s past due to arrest the loss of talent shown at the various youth levels. Rahkeem Cornwall, Anthony Bramble, Romario Shepherd, Veerasammy Permaul, and Clinton Pestano and others made outstanding contributions in the recent competition. Yet, none were considered for international competition. Robert Haynes, Jason Holder, and Floyd Reifer have shown they are just as terrible as Courtney Browne, Lockhart Sebastien, Travis Dowlin, and Eldine Baptiste.
    Most of all I love for attendance for the regional competition to return to similar fever as it were 1961-1981. I am with cricket played by attacking attractive stroke players against hostile aggressive very fast and outstanding bowlers on fast bouncy pitches is the best spectacle in cricket. West Indies have too many grafters. No teams should have more than one Shivnarine Chanderpaul. That’s handcuffing the chances of winning cricket in a thirty hours match. Grafters, such as Kraigg Braithwaite and Roston Chase are not only boring; they waste too much time. Grafters, put too much pressure on the bowlers to dismiss twenty batsmen in first class and test matches to produce victories in limited time. It is most terrible for the spectators.
    In short; Cameron’s lackeys and puppets must be swept out of cricket administration, immediately. And talent pool increased 110 cricketers on display in every round of regional first-class matches. Also, batting points need to be allotted with respect to scoring rate. for example 100 per session one point; more than 360 runs in six hours 4 points with points per increments of runs score with a maximum among of points. bowling points out to have a maximum. let us say the maximum is 30 points per game; with 1.5 points fast bowling wicket and one point per spinners’ wicket. Maybe bowled out to be given more points. The administrators need to work on the points system. Also, every effort to attract fans into the stands must be explored. most of all, emphasis must be placed on young cricketers 17-23. Perhaps, CWI needs to partner with CARICOM to establish cricket development facilities in the locations of the affiliate boards before extending to the affiliates of the affiliates.

  2. Garth misread the bounce on the wicket and had a swing and a miss. There was no treachery when it’s time for the witch to die.
    The house fell on Cameron and now Skerritt / Shallow have the ruby slippers.
    All the best in your new endeavors, Mr Cameron …

  3. Cameron needed to be “set up” he played politics with something very precious to d carribean people.

  4. Damian R. Scott I’m good with Garth even though this is a weak article that needed striking though

    But the basis of writing such a piece stems from the fact that many in Caribbean sports media felt big idiot couldn’t loose. They did no in the trenches reporting during campaign- just sat on their high horses (a bit scared also) feeling big idiot was invisible

    Even fazeer admitted on tv6 morning show the other day he never saw Cameron loosing 2 months ago

    That basic miscalculation is a microcosm that defined the general Caribbean during big idiots distrusting 6 year tenure

    • Colin Benjamin I hear you. But the mere fact that an incumbent president could boldly claim before an election that he already had half the votes in the bag and therefore didn’t even feel the need to mount any electoral campaign should have set the sports media world abuzz!

    • Damian R. Scott not in Caribbean ha

      He ran a horrible campaign & in reality he never had half the votes secured. Full figment of his imagination

      There has never been a Caribbean cricket election so robust. Up to now I don’t understand how big idiot so such an aggressive campaign and never properly fought back – but instead took shots repeatedly 🤣

      He was a narcissist straight to the end

    • Colin Benjamin glutton for punishment!

  5. In case you’re wondering, this hapless batsman is representative of Garth Wattley’s writing… Hahahaha

  6. First I fact check fazeer now big best fact checks Garth – express under attack ha

    Bruce Aanensen Stephon Nicholas Anthony Deyal Dennis Allen Kirwin Weston Kion S Williams Roneil K Walcott Choy Aping

  7. Best bowls Garth for duck here! But ‘treachery’ or not, ’twas time for Dave to go. I remain hopeful the new CWI president will be able to right some of the many wrongs his predecessor perpetrated on the West Indies team and players.

    And better put King David of the TTFA on notice: a reckoning forestalled is a reckoning most hurtful when eventually delivered!

  8. Excellent as usual Lasana Liburd