Letter of the day: Who really owns West Indies cricket?
THE EDITOR, Sir:
In his column 'On The Boundary' in the November 29 edition of The Sunday Gleaner, Tony Becca highlights the volte-face of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president in respect of the original request of CARICOM for a meeting to discuss the state of West Indies cricket.
While Becca advances recognition of the historical and socio-cultural importance of Windies cricket to the Caribbean people as a major factor in the abrupt reversal of attitude, I would suggest that Mr Cameron, more than the general Caribbean populace, is also fully cognisant as to 'who really owns West Indies cricket'.
The people of the Caribbean have a direct, vested fiduciary interest in West Indies cricket; not so much the result of historical one-off monetary concessions, but legally so, arising from the massive investments made on their behalf by the regional governments in respect of Cricket World Cup 2007.
A Los Angeles Times report of April 2, 2006 cited an estimated aggregate cost of infrastructural upgrading exceeding US$800 million (J$96 billion currently). This estimate was attributed to Donald Lockerbie, venue development director, International Cricket Council World Cup 2007. Without fear of contradiction, I suggest that this investment exceeded by multiples then the net worth of the old boys' clubs that still seek to assert their historical 'control' of West Indies cricket.
In the Jamaican context, the outlay for Cricket World Cup 2007 has been estimated at US$105 million (Jamaica Journal, May 15, 2010). Even if one omits the reported US$9-million loan from the Chinese government for the construction of the greenfield white elephant in Trelawny, it is clear that the Jamaican people were vested with a disproportionately large part of the local cost of hosting World Cup 2007.
Accurate accounting of these investments on the part of the Jamaican Government remains elusive. Equally perturbing is the complete darkness that has enveloped the disposition of the grant of US$100 million (GBP72 million) from the ICC to the WICB towards offsetting the cost of staging Cricket World Cup 2007 (Scyld Berry, The Telegraph, March 2009).
One would hope that arising out of the upcoming meeting between CARICOM and the WICB would be a determination to clarify these issues as a means of repositioning West Indies cricket in which trust has loomed large in the quality of the final output, more so over the past two decades.
Perhaps a common understanding of who really owns West Indies cricket might lead to the type of restructuring required to minimise the historical dysfunctionality.