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‘Think of Caribbean people and not yourself’, PM Mitchell tells WICB President Cameron

Published:Thursday | November 19, 2015 | 11:00 AM
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ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC):

Grenada's Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has bristled at the suggestion by West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) President Dave Cameron that his board was too busy to have an urgent meeting with CARICOM leaders to discuss the recommendations of the Governance Review Panel report.

Speaking on the opening day of the OECS Summit here, Mitchell reiterated that CARICOM heads were serious about ensuring there were fundamental changes in West Indies cricket and urged Cameron to focus on the interests of Caribbean people and not those of himself and his board members.

"We (CARICOM heads) said we're prepared, in the interest of our people, to meet immediately to look at how we're going forward," said Mitchell, who is also chairman of CARICOM's Cricket Governance Committee.

"I can't believe this ... I saw a (news) report the president of the West Indies Cricket Board say his people are very busy - they are professional people with a lot of responsibilities - so the heads are not professional people. So we can meet, we can give up everything else.

"All I ask the president (is to) accept the responsibility and think less of yourself and your board members and more of the people of the entire Caribbean."

Earlier this month, Mitchell had asked Cameron for an "urgent meeting" to discuss the Governance Review Panel report, which, among other things, recommended the "immediate dissolution" of the WICB.

However, Cameron suggested at the time, and reiterated last weekend, that there was unlikely to be any talks with CARICOM before the already scheduled December 12 directors' meeting in St Lucia.

Delivering the feature address at Cayman Cricket's Annual Awards Dinner in George Town last Saturday, Cameron said the board comprised a "number of professionals" and therefore simply calling a meeting was "not that easy".

Mitchell said he found it hard to accept the WICB's reluctance to meet urgently with CARICOM heads, especially since it was the board who had agreed to the establishment of the panel and had helped to recommend its members.

"Let me state the facts. Our leaders recognised that they had a responsibility to the people not to just a particular issue, but to the people, so what affects the people must affect the leaders. If not, we're not leaders," explained Mitchell, who, along with several other Caribbean prime ministers, met with the WICB in a crucial meeting last April in Grenada.

"We agreed to meet with all stakeholders. We gave of our time - the prime minister of The Bahamas (Perry Christie) his country plays little or no cricket, but he left his country and came to Grenada, engaged with the West Indies Cricket Board and all stakeholders.

Board decisions

"We agreed to set up an independent body with distinguished Caribbean citizens and we agreed to give serious effort to implementing the decision of that group. It was not a Keith Mitchell recommendation, it was not a (Roosevelt) Skerritt recommendation, the leaders proceeded to give effect to that.

"The board had on its team the head of (their) Governance of Cricket - the distinguished president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (Sir) Dennis Byron. They recommended him to be on the committee. They recommended the Caribbean Development Bank president (Dr Warren Smith). It was not my recommendation ..."

Mitchell said Cameron and the WICB needed to take a cue from Caribbean leaders who were also busy but were willing to make time to discuss the recommendations.

"Now,, the recommendation comes out, I cannot understand. Heads of Government are busy people, they have so much to do, I don't need extra work," the Grenada leader stressed.

"Sometimes, I can't find a minute to midday in Grenada to do some of the things I have to do, so I don't need this and I know all leaders don't need it."

He made it clear that the move to establish the panel was purely out of a desire to rescue Caribbean cricket.

"We have our problems. Like everything else, we're up today and down tomorrow, but we are down far too long and we can only see one thing going down and down."