Commentator Files Suit Over Eyesight Comments

TONY COZIER, the voice of Caribbean cricket, is suing president of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron for defamation. Cozier, an icon of broadcast cricket commentary for more than 50 years, is headed to court and seeking damages for defamation over words used by Cameron last May 22 during a meeting at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies. Cozier, 75, full name Winston Anthony Lloyd Cozier, has engaged the services of Queen’s Counsel Peter Symmonds.

At that meeting last May, Cameron is purported to have said: “There is no ban on Mr Cozier. The challenge is Mr Cozier has gotten to an age – and everyone needs to agree, that he is not actually seeing very well anymore. And we are being very, very frank about that.

Veteran Commentator Tony Cozier.

“It has nothing to do with him as a person. And we don’t believe the quality of the commentary benefits from having him on television. He still continues to do radio.”

Speaking on a telephone link-up from Jamaica, the 46-year-old Cameron, who has been chief administrator of the WICB since 2013, told the WEEKENDSPORT he was not going on the back foot.

“I have no intention of backing down,” he said. “I am not afraid of going to court.
I am not going to settle. It is less about the money. It is about the principle. I have not done anything wrong. Let it go through the courts.”

Both Cameron and Cozier have seemingly been at odds over the past few years. Two years ago, the WICB, over which Cameron presides, terminated Cozier’s contractual arrangement to commentate on regional cricket.

Cameron said his focus was on the development of West Indies’ cricket. “I do not have anything personal against Tony Cozier or Michael Holding. I am seeking to rebuild the cricketing industry in the West Indies and trying to take it to the next level. This issue is not about my perceived intransigence or arrogance, but about other things,” he said.

Cozier has commented and written for some of the world’s leading entities and networks such as ESPN, Channel Nine (Australia), Supersport (South Africa), The Independent (England) and Indian Express.

Symmonds described the episode as unfortunate and regrettable. “Cozier is a world renowned broadcast journalist, who has never been the subject of adverse comment on the state of his eyesight or his age. He was good enough to work for the BBC broadcast commentary team last year,” he said.

Symmonds is no stranger to cricketing matters heading to court. In 1988, he represented St Catherine successfully against the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) regarding the 1987 controversial last series Division 1 match between the St Philip-based club and Police.

That match was ruled a no-decision by the BCA when Police pulled off an outright victory after the first two days were washed out because of rain. The two captains had agreed to declare their first innings after one over.

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