St John’s, ANTIGUA – Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Hon Gaston Browne who is also Chairman of CARICOM’s sub-committee on Cricket, has said that “West Indies Cricket can become the most exciting and most valuable cricket product in the world.”
In an address today (May 31), to mark the WICB’s 90th year of recognition by the International Cricket Council (ICC), the Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister also stated, “I categorically reject the call for the dissolution of the West Indies Cricket Board, and I do so in my capacity as Chairman of the Committee governing West Indies Cricket. I believe firmly that to dissolve the board, would be to plunge West Indies Cricket into further chaos and confusion.”
Asserting that governance could be an issue, the PM also asked that the board and other stakeholders take the necessary and appropriate actions to ensure that the governance framework is strengthened; that there is greater transparency and accountability; and the disputes/differences that will arise from time to time be managed much better than they are now. He believes when the disputes end up in the public domain, it damages the image of the cricket product. He therefore urged the board to “create a more suitable dispute resolution mechanism in resolving the issues between the board and players going forward.
The Prime Minister in acknowledging and congratulating the various teams on the wins in the under 19, men’s and women’s categories so far this year, said these victories “should serve as a platform for greater unity for the board and players and for all stakeholders.”
Additionally, the Prime Minster announced that his government is in negotiation with the Stanford liquidator receiver to acquire the Stanford Cricket Ground, Sticky Wicket and other amenities in partnership with the WICB. “The value of the investment is estimated at US$6million and the government will underwrite up to 50 per cent of that amount,” noted the PM.
The milestone was also recognized by the Governor General, His Excellency, Sir Rodney Williams, who stated that cricket has created an evolution and revolution for the people of the region. He noted the radical changes in the game which took place and highlighted that the format changes were imminent and “there was more to come.”
The President, Dave Cameron was brief in his comments and provided a scorecard of the last month, hailing the renewal of the Digicel deal for another four years as an indication of the value of West Indies cricket to its sponsor partners.
The event culminated in a symbolic flag-raising with the flags of the region representing the six regions, the WICB and the national flag of Antigua and Barbuda.
The WICB is now in full swing for the start of the 2016 Tri-Nation one-day international which bowls off in Guyana on Friday, June 3. The teams along with the West Indies are Australia and South Africa and all ten matches are day/night.