Sat | Sep 22, 2018

Can Billy Heaven continue?

Published:Friday | February 20, 2015 | 12:01 AM

After being forced by their members into a humiliating reversal of who to support as boss of West Indies cricket, Billy Heaven, the president, and his fellow directors of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), may want to reconsider whether they should continue on their existing mandate.

Mr Heaven says it is not necessary. But this was a fundamental and deep repudiation of the JCA's leadership that can only have widened the schism between the association's governors, raising legitimate questions of if, or how, it can be healed and by whom.

It should be recalled that the JCA's board had voted 10-6 to cast support for Barbados' Joel Garner for the presidency of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). In other words, the JCA intended to vote against the incumbent, Dave Cameron. They were, they said, dissatisfied with the handling of the abandonment of last October's tour of India by senior players over their disagreement with a contract their union had signed with the board.

The decision by the majority of the JCA board triggered the resignation of at least one of its members and resolutions for the decision to be overturned and for a no-confidence vote in Mr Heaven's leadership. Constitutional issues meant that resolutions could not be formally acted upon at the JCA special annual meeting. But an allowable conscience vote on the WICB candidacy matter went against Mr Heaven.

It is unfortunate if the vote of the JCA members was influenced, to any significant extent, by nationalism, particularly the fact that Mr Cameron is Jamaican - which was probably the case. But a larger principle is at play here - the matter of accountability.

First, this newspaper reiterates that it holds no brief for Mr Cameron and takes no sides in the WICB leadership race, even though we believe that the context of the walkout by the senior players in India, and the responsibility, therefore, has been misrepresented in the Caribbean.




Nonetheless, Mr Heaven and company felt that Mr Cameron, as leader, should be held to account. In the circumstance, they argued, Mr Cameron could not be one to oversee the repair of regional cricket.

It is a logic that this newspaper understands. It is one that, others may well argue, should apply to Mr Heaven. He now presides over a fractured JCA in the wake of his board's divisive vote on the Cameron issue and its member's public and overwhelming repudiation of their decision.

It may be that Mr Heaven, and those colleagues who voted with him, were right in their assessment of Mr Cameron. In that regard, to stay on as leader, in the face of this public repudiation, would seem to be a surrender of conscience. Further, there are also reasonable questions to be answered over what soundings Mr Heaven undertook before the directors' vote, and if the matter might not have been resolved by consensus, without the need for a ballot.

Either way, Billy Heaven's leadership is under legitimate scrutiny.