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Skerritt: We didn’t hide audits; CWI president says he is not ‘concealing’ Cameron’s financial ‘wrongdoings’

“[…] In carrying out its assessments, the accounting and management consulting firm of Pannell Kerr Foster (PKF) uncovered some illustrations of questionable executive standards and practices. It verified and emphasised the need for drastic operational reorganisation and realignment, with an urgent need for improved risk assessment and cash flow management.

“[…] I can confidently assure you that at no time was there any decision taken by the Board or anyone associated with CWI to ‘hide’, ‘conceal’, ‘withhold’ or ‘hold-back’ the PKF report…”

The following statement from Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt was made in response to criticism from West Indies cricket legend and commentator Michael Holding of his failure to release an audit into the alleged financial mismanagement of his predecessor, Dave Cameron:

Photo: Former Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Dave Cameron (left) and his successor Ricky Skerritt, who was elected on 24 March 2019.

Upon assuming office in April 2019, just over a year ago—in keeping with our theme of ‘Cricket First’, and promises of governance reform and financial transparency—the new CWI president and vice president (with the support of the directors of CWI) immediately undertook the process of seeking to systematically address and rectify several areas across the organisation which we believed were cause for concern.

One of the first three of these actions was the review of the CWI team selection system, which was successfully undertaken by a task force led by the vice-president, which commenced in May, over a three-month period.

Simultaneously, the accounting and management consulting firm of Pannell Kerr Foster (PKF), was engaged for a six-month period to conduct a business situation assessment and review of the organisation’s financial management systems, and to provide recommendations for addressing any shortcomings.

Additionally and not long after, another task force was established, led by Senator Don Wehby. The remit of that task force was to review the governance system and practices of the organisation, and to make recommendations to address any needed reforms. The final Wehby governance reform report is expected to come to hand in the near future.

In carrying out its assessments, PKF uncovered some illustrations of questionable executive standards and practices. It verified and emphasised the need for drastic operational reorganisation and realignment, with an urgent need for improved risk assessment and cash flow management.

Photo: West Indies star Chris Gayle celebrates with teammate Dwayne Bravo during their ICC World Twenty20 match against South Africa in Nagpur, India on 25 March 2016.
(Copyright AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

The PKF consultants accordingly presented their report in person to the CWI board of directors in December; and their twenty-eight recommendations were unanimously adopted. Publishing the document was never considered by the board, as the report is an internal report.

Accordingly, CWI has since been in the process of implementing those recommendations as swiftly as we are able, and several of these recommendations have already been fully incorporated into the organisation’s day to day operations, including:

  • reinforcing the president’s role as non-executive chairman of the board, with responsibility for strategic policy and governance, while empowering and supporting the CEO and his management team with full responsibility for all operational aspects of the organisation;
  • realigning the organisation’s leadership, reporting, and functional structure, to enhance accountability and reestablish clear lines of authority and responsibility;
  • strengthening internal controls and ensuring timely reconciliation and reporting of all accounts;
  • modifying fundamental management practices to ensure transparency, and best practices;
  • discontinuing the operations of the executive committee of the board;
  • reporting to the board on a timely basis, the accurate financial situation.

Since the adoption of the PKF report six months ago, numerous references to the existence of the report have been made in media statements and interviews by the CWI CEO, vice-president, and myself. I can confidently assure you that at no time was there any decision taken by the Board or anyone associated with CWI to ‘hide’, ‘conceal’, ‘withhold’ or ‘hold-back’ the PKF report.

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

However, in light of an apparent recent access to some of its contents by the media, the CWI Board will now have to contemplate whether it may be appropriate at this time for the report to be shared publicly.

In closing, I want to assure all stakeholders of West Indies cricket that whether the PKF report is made public or not, CWI will not be distracted from correcting, and learning from, any identifiable missteps or shortcomings of the past.

I am determined as the president of this board, to ensure that CWI conducts its business with integrity, accountability and transparency and without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.

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