Call on me

Sports Minister willing to act as mediator in West Indies cricket dispute

Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley is anxious to see an urgent resolution of the crisis facing West Indies cricket and he’s prepared to help broker a deal if called upon to do so.

Describing the abrupt end of the Indian tour and the resulting strong retaliation from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as a “big issue that threatens all that we [the region] have actually built up in cricket”, Lashley today underscored the need for immediate intervention.

“I have a passion and a desire to have it fixed and to the extent that I can offer any help in that regard I am available. I am sure it is a burning issue that would be of concern and I am anxious to have this matter resolved,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Socerrex Forum being held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

West Indies players took the controversial decision to abandon the tour at the end of the fourth One Day International in Dharamsala last Friday, in protest of new contracts brokered by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) which the players claimed resulted in significant pay cuts for them.

In response, the BCCI served notice yesterday that it was contemplating a lawsuit to recoup losses estimated at $65 million for the cancellation of the last ODI, a lone Twenty20 International and three Test matches.

The Indian authorities have also threatened to suspend bilateral tours with the West Indies for possibly five years.

Lashley would not be drawn into any discussion over who was at fault, only insisting that the focus must now be on settling the matter.

Stephen Lashley
Stephen Lashley

“One of the key things of mediation is that you never take a position on who’s right, who’s wrong and I don’t think that is relevant right now,” he stressed. “The key thing is that it has happened and our role now is to fix it and move it beyond the point of  being a stalemate.”

The Minister also stayed clear of saying how the disputing parties should proceed.

“Any advice that I am prepared to give would be based on if we are having a serious in-house discussion where we could give advice to the players, the West Indies Cricket Board and even the Indian Cricket Board as well. It is really beyond public speculation at this stage [and] we should probably avoid that,” he added.

Today, the President of the Barbados Football Association (BFA) Randy Harris also weighed in on the developments troubling West Indies cricket.

Also speaking to reporters at the international conference, he insisted that the players’ walkout would never happen in the football arena.

“We in football could never allow any of our teams to just pick up and leave a tournament, we would be banished,” Harris said, while noting that “as an employee it would be hard to continue working if out of the blue my salary was cut without any consultation”.

However, he suggested that top WICB officials should have immediately flown to India upon hearing the players’ threat to withdraw their services.

In fact, he said an attempt should still be made to get to India as soon as possible.

“I don’t know if there is a forum to speak to the principals of other top cricketing nations and sit down and really try to come to a solution. There are sides in all stories but the [international cricket fraternity] needs to know why this had to happen in the Caribbean and they have to be satisfied that this is not likely to happen in the near future,” the BFA president said.

However, he does not anticipate any spillover effect on the region’s football.

“Football has its specific regulations. When it comes to withdrawal for any reason, we don’t withdraw, we participate and then we deal with the issue,” he said.

Following an intense meeting at the Accra Beach Hotel yesterday, the WICB announced it would establish a task force to probe the circumstances that gave rise to the dramatic pullout by the senior West Indies cricketers from their tour of India.

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2 Responses to Call on me

  1. Tony Webster October 23, 2014 at 6:50 am

    I would hasten to agree, (had this been said or even intimated), that team Bim has a lot at stake if this whole thing really “hits the fan”, and Kensington doesn’t see much revenue for five years, plus a lot of other associated moolah at risk….dat t’ings here gine get a darker sahde of brown. That’s obvious.
    However, I would believe that having had many other “broad bats” try their hands at pouring oil on rough WICB / cricketing waters (eg. Manley; Patterson; Dr. Rudy; PM dis , and PM dat; Sir this and Sir that, all to no sustainable avail…that we need a real giant of world-class acclaim, and fame, and ability, to pull our chestnuts (or just plain nuts)…out of the fire, this time around.
    Yes, we need a miracle, or at least an Exalted Global-sized Concilliator this time around. I just hope that The Good Lord played cricket too, and can come into bat for us. So don’t pack your gear-bag just yet Mr. Minister! Just keep praying …right along with the rest of us…that our Indian friends will dig deep into their reserves of compassion and pity, and spare us.

  2. jr smith October 23, 2014 at 11:30 am

    This latest stupidness just shows the world how, black people behave in the west indies, in every way in everything they do ,the behaviour is the same , no discipline ,no decency ,no real character, bad behaviour, they throw they tots out of the pram, what ever level they are at, this we see continuously in Barbados and across the region.
    That’s why that silly caricom thing will never work. west Indians cannot work together. The best thing ever happen, we are not on a continent, have a go at me but we don’t like the truth,
    Every day we slag of each other. behaving worse than kids.


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