Gonsalves proposes 'grand settlement'
KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC):St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has written to CARICOM asking the regional body to communicate to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) his "grand settlement" proposal, aimed at diffusing the BCCI's US$42 million compensation claim against the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and ending the full-blown crisis.
Gonsalves told reporters in Kingstown on Monday that the grand settlement included five elements, the first of which was that the WICB settled the internal matter with the "India 14".
He was referring to the West Indies cricketers who prematurely ended their tour of India last month over a pay dispute with West Indies Players' Association (WIPA), resulting in the US$42 million claim in losses from the BCCI.
The grand settlement is also calling for the WIPA and the India 14 "to stop their internecine squabbling and get back on track as one entity in WIPA".
Third, Gonsalves' proposal is calling "for firm, urgent, practical steps to be taken in the reform of the management and administrative systems of the West Indies Cricket Board".
"The West Indies Cricket Board at the moment is functioning as if it were a private club," Gonsalves said forcefully.
"It needs to be responsible and responsive to the community. These are issues which have been raised in the Patterson Report several years ago and that is the starting point for the reform, otherwise, this thing is going to happen again."
Gonsalves continued: "WICB doesn't own any cricket ground. WICB doesn't own West Indies cricket; the people of the region own it. They (WICB) are custodians with their links to the ICC to organise cricket at the regional level and at international level. There are national associations, but the structure which exists is inadequate for these times and these circumstances."
The fourth point of Gonsalves's proposal is that "the WICB and the BCCI must work more closely and collaboratively in the interest of both India and West Indies cricket and world cricket".
"And, of course, there are many practical things which we can do together. And once we have those, as the lawyers will say, in those premises, given those four points, the fifth point is that India, in the interest of cricket in India and the Caribbean and world cricket, that they simply forgo the claim in the light of what I call this grand settlement," Gonsalves contended.
He said he had copied his letter to CARICOM's bureau and noted that time was running out on the WICB to avoid a lawsuit.
In making its claim of compensation, the BCCI had given the WICB 15 days in which to outline how it would settle the amount.
Gonsalves also made it clear that he was not asking CARICOM nations to pay the US$42 million bill.
"Now, when I said that I'll be working to help with a resolution, for some strange reason, that metamorphosed that I will take money from the treasury of St Vincent and the Grenadines and ask other countries to do so. I explicitly said no, that is not on the cards," Gonsalves stressed.