The Caribbean Premier League has received an important and most welcomed stamp of approval and support from former Jamaica Prime Minister, the Honourable PJ Patterson. He has been appointed by the West Indies Cricket Board and has agreed to chair the CPL Cricket Committee, bringing his widespread influence and illustrious political career, wealth of experience and high-profile personality to bear on the organisation.
A widely acknowledged figure on the international stage, Patterson holds a track record as an articulate champion of the cause of developing countries, and was instrumental in establishing the mechanisms that resulted in the evolution of the Caribbean Free Trade Area into Caricom. He is now a recognised statesman of Caricom, one of his responsibilities being lead adviser on Haiti.
As the longest serving Prime Minister in Jamaica, Patterson headed the unprecedented modernisation and transformation of the economic, social and political landscape of the country. He was chair of the United Nations Security Council during his tenure as Prime Minister, and has addressed world leaders in just about every international and regional forum.
His record of diplomacy and capacity to resolve conflicts speaks for itself in a most distinguished career that has spanned across the globe. Patterson has a very close association with West Indies cricket and has been a strong supporter and indeed champion of the game and its continued development.
He was a member of the Governance Committee on West Indies Cricket where along with former CARICOM Secretary General, Sir Alister McIntyre and noted historian Ian McDonald, he authored the Governance Report, also known as The Patterson Report, which was commissioned by the WICB in 2007.
The Report looked at all the major facets of West Indies cricket and recommended solutions to issues of leadership, marketing, board structure and the relationship between the board and players with a view to improving its overall operations, governance effectiveness, team performance and strengthening its credibility and public support.
An interesting point to note was that the report also demonstrated the need for a professional cricket league to be formed in the region. His passion for the game of cricket and his belief that it unites the region and is critical to the integration process has long been demonstrated.
Patterson was an original member of the prime ministerial sub committee on cricket. He also chaired Caricom when the agreements to host Cricket World Cup came into being, which brought in the Sunset legislation which made provisions for the safe, orderly conduct of the games, the protection of intellectual property and broadcasting rights, as well as remedies for the infringement of such rights.
Over the years Patterson has continued to speak of the vital importance of developing the creative industries, including cricket, to capitalise on what the Caribbean has to offer, including hospitality, trade, entertainment and the unique flavour of the Caribbean brand. CPL will allow all of these to be experienced by the world.
“I am pleased to be a part of the Caribbean Premier League because I believe it will impact the region in countless ways,” said Patterson. “I have expressed in the past that we have a special brand of cricket here in the West Indies and we need to capitalise on that. I believe the CPL will truly highlight our uniqueness to the World.”
When considering the unique opportunities to the young cricketers of the region, Patterson continued. “I have always contended that the future of West Indies Cricket starts at the regional level and the CPL will certainly help in this respect by ensuring that our youth are given the opportunity to be involved with and exposed to first-rate international cricket across the Caribbean.”
The CPL Cricket Committee was formed with three nominations from the WICB and three nominations from CPL organisers. Both accepted each other’s choices openly without reservation. The members from the WICB are Zorol Barthley, Conde Riley and Walter Scott, QC. The members from CPL are Ian Bishop, Lance Gibbs and Charles Wilkin, QC.
The Cricket Committee will be responsible for final approval of the tournament rules and regulations, playing conditions and review any potential breaches. They will also be responsible for any player discipline and approve any team changes throughout the tournament.