Riley chides task force report
A senior Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) official has raised concerns about the quality of the work done by the task force set up by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to probe the regional side’s abandonment of the India tour in October.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY, BCA board member Conde Riley described the task force’s report as “flat” and suggested it was not as extensive a probe as it could have been.
“I think the report should have gone into a bit more detail. I am not sure if there were some recommendations made so I really cannot speak to that. But I believe if I see the recommendations I may have a different opinion. But right now it looks a little flat to me,” he said.
The task force, which carried out its investigations over a period of one month, was headed by Jamaican lawyer Michael Gordon QC, and included former West Indian fast-bowling great Sir Wesley Hall and Sir Richard Cheltenham QC. Riley said four weeks was adequate time for the task force to conduct its work.
“I think a month is good time, providing that the people who had to be interviewed were available. But with some of the players involved in Ram Slam in South Africa, I don’t know how convenient it was to interview them by Skype if they were available. But I think four weeks was adequate to interview everybody,” Riley said.
The task force held all parties involved –– WICB, West Indies Players Association and players –– culpable for the India fiasco that has left the regional board facing possible insolvency after the Board of Control for Cricket in India demanded compensation of more than BDS$80 million and indicated a freeze on cricket tours between the two nations. The report was critical of the role played by the “senior players” of the West Indies touring party captained by Dwayne Bravo and including Test captain Denesh Ramdin and Twenty20 skipper Darren Sammy. The touring party was headed by manager Sir Richie Richardson and included bowling consultant Sir Curtley Ambrose.
Riley reiterated that the West Indies players should have stayed in India and completed the tour rather than take action that appeared irresponsible.
“I have said from the beginning that the problem was not with the players and the WICB. The problem was with the players and West Indies Players Association and as a result I think they should have completed the tour.”
The impasse in regional cricket came to a head following a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the WICB and WIPA with the West Indies players on tour in India charging that WIPA boss Wavell Hinds hand not apprised them of the contents of the MOU and the changes therein, compared to the previous players’ contract.
The task force in its report questioned whether the Memorandum of Understanding was an actual contract and was of the view that there was something fundamentally wrong with the players arriving on tour in India only to discover there were drastic changes made to the terms of their employment.
“The MOU has guidelines and the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). So once there is agreement on the CBA then the contract will fall into place because you are guided by those agreements in the MOU. What I think went wrong here was that the players are saying that they were not in total agreement although they agreed to give up some of their appearance fees with the quantum, so it means that there was not full agreement with regards to the players and their union,” Riley said, stressing that in future there should be a proper contractual “sign off” among players, WIPA and the WICB.
This is the second occasion in fewer than 24 hours that the work of the WICB’s task force has come in for criticism. Attorney-at-law Ralph Thorne QC, who is representing the interests of the majority of the players from the abandoned India tour, has described their report as flawed and bemoaned the fact that players were interviewed in the absence of legal counsel.