PORTIA SIMPSON-MILLER vs THE WICB

From left: Jamaica’s PM Portia Simpson-Miller, Jamaican cricketer Chris Gayle, WICB’s Ernest Hilaire and Julian Hunte.

The war of words between the WICB and the Prime Minister of Jamaica continues to wage and some rather interesting developments have unfolded since. What intrigues me most is the WICB’s response to Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller’s first statement. As far as I can recall, the Prime Minister made two points in her statement. (1) The dispute between Chris Gayle and the WICB has taken too long to be resolved. (2) As far as she was concerned, Jamaica should have had a game for the Australian series, and she was disappointed that was not the case.
Now somebody please tell me, is it not true that the ongoing dispute with Chris Gayle has gone on for almost twelve months now? Isn’t that a long time to settle a dispute? So why did the board think Prime Minister Simpson needed a brief from the JCA in order to say so? She has stated a fact. It may very well be that she thinks it’s the WICB that is solely responsible for the delay, but the fact is she has not said so. As for the question of Jamaica not getting a game for the upcoming Australian tour, she did not need a brief either. Any leader of a country which did not get a game is free to express their disappointment, more so Jamaica for reasons that are well known. The fact that the JCA was at the meeting when venues were discussed has nothing to do with it. I’ve said it before and I say it again, Kensington Oval and Sabina Park are the two venues in the West Indies where we are most likely to win a match. The WICB must take into consideration the fact that we are no longer the world beaters we used to.                 Therefore, systematic scheduling of matches to our advantage is crucial. For goodness sake, it is done everywhere else.
The excuse, that weather conditions in Jamaica at this time of year was a deciding factor in their decision not to award a game to Jamaica, is laughable at best. Everyone knows that the weather in Jamaica at this time is no worse than anywhere else in the Caribbean. Only the WICB seems not to know that as we get into the second quarter of the year, weather conditions in the Caribbean actually improves. Without being overly critical, I must say this board has shown a lot of bad faith and a love for enemy action. When I look at the WICB’s response to developments in Guyana, it’s not too difficult to believe the Chris Gayle factor was probably the prevailing reason for leaving out Jamaica for the Australian tour.
It is all well and good intentioned to try and spread games around so that territories which expended millions of dollars in order to upgrade their venues for the 2007 World Cup could get a return on their investment.                 However, the WICB cannot pretend to be Santa Claus and at the same time, compromise our team’s chances of winning a match or the series for that matter.
If it is true that the board wants to spread matches around, then how come the Windward Islands as a single member territory, is playing host to six matches in the same series? Where is the fairness we keep hearing about?
Prime Minister Simpson-Miller hit the nail on the head when she referred to the WICB’s response as rude and crude. As far as I can see, there is a certain DNA all over that response which I dare say has become characteristic of this board.
Notwithstanding some of the good initiatives undertaken by the WICB, some of which have their genesis prior to the Julian Hunte led board, it is not difficult to agree that this is the most controversial board to ever run cricket in the West Indies.
Listening to the “Johnnies Come Lately” on RCI’s Morning Rumble, the uninformed is likely to think that this is the best board to ever run cricket in the World.             What passes for support is nothing more than petty insularity and unbridled emotion. Undoubtedly one of the biggest shortcomings of this present board is its marked inability to manage or deal with “star players” and resolve conflict. Truth be told, there has been conflicts in West Indies cricket before, and maybe greater conflicts at that, but we have never seen it handled so badly before. Unfortunately both president Hunte and Dr Hilaire have weaknesses and incidents in their past which makes their job more difficult than it should be. Sadly that is not helped by the inherent arrogance that seems to be their stock in trade.
What do I mean by incidents in their past? Well, surely you have heard Dr Hilaire asking Chris Gayle to retract or apologize for statements made last year, before he can be picked on a West Indies team again, never mind this pick is not guaranteed. The analogy being presented is to liken Chris Gayle to someone who has publicly derided/criticized a potential employer and subsequently seeks to work at that same establishment, without first apologizing.
No problem with that requirement and so it should be. But pray tell, does Dr Hilaire and the “Johnnies Come Lately” remember the days when he, Dr Hilaire, was a frequent caller to the Morning Rumble? Perhaps he couldn’t see the CEO job coming up at the time. More than once I heard Ernest on the “Rumble” criticizing both Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle. On one occasion he said Gayle should not be captain of the team and that if he had his way, Gayle would not be on the side.  Am I the only one who remembers, or is this an inconvenient truth?
Is that not publicly criticizing the employees of a company (WICB in that case) and then taking up employment with that same company without retracting the statement or apologizing for what was said? When and where did Dr Hilaire apologize for his comments? How come Dr Hilaire can do it but Gayle can’t? Please don’t get me wrong I’m not at all suggesting Gayle should not be asked to apologize. All I’m doing is exposing the different standards being used by the board to deal with similar issues.
From all indications things are not likely to get any better. I can see conflict developing with Messrs Narine and Darren Bravo as soon as they establish themselves on the international circuit.
In my humble view Mr Hunte, Dr Hilaire and Dr Beckles should do the honourable thing and remove their massive egos from the board and allow persons who possess greater people skills to take over.

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