Wed | Oct 28, 2020

Outdated ideas – Heaven responds to JCA rival Neita

Published:Saturday | February 16, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven, president of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), described as “outdated” the proposed hands-on style being promised by presidential hopeful Mark Neita.

The two will contest local cricket’s top post at the JCA’s annual general meeting (AGM) on February 28.

Heaven told The Gleaner that modern cricket administration convention dictates that the organisation is managed by a board and responsibilities are delegated.

Neita said he would provide the association with the hands-on, in-office type of leadership, which, he believes, is vital to pushing the sport forward, but Heaven argued that ‘executive presidents’ are a thing of the past.

“The issue of whether you have a hands-on leader or, as I interpret it, an executive president, is a no-no for me. There is no need for an executive president in sports or any well-managed corporate entity. That model has gone long ago. Even family businesses are looking for professional managers to manage and a board to formulate policies and direct the organisations.

“So I believe this should continue to be the model of the JCA. We have a board, and that board will set policies, formulate strategies, and direct the management, and the management will carry out those responsibilities,” he said.


Heaven said that what Neita proposes could plunge the organisation into confusion.

“To have a management and for the board to also manage would create chaos and confusion in the roles, the lines of responsibility, and the chain of command. So I would never agree with a president being an executive president in charge of the organisation in terms of its management, no. But we believe this model, this structure, should continue irrespective of who is here. It is the way modern organisations are going, not only sports organisations, but commercial organisations,” he said.

Heaven says that their campaign theme is performance and not promise, and he strongly believes that he has led the JCA well during his time in charge and expects to continue leading the revival of Jamaica’s cricket after February 28.

“When I took office, we saw a board managing the JCA, and we appointed a CEO after many years here without a CEO. We set the structure in place, and apart from the structure, we set systems in place, we formulated policies, and we have a JCA that is efficient, and we are proud of that,” he said.

“Sustainability of any sporting organisation will not come through sponsorship. It has to come through your own initiative to generate income, and that is what we have done very well. Our cricket has some ways to go, but we have made sure to put in place a youth programme, which, over the next few years, will see some success in terms of our cricket development,” he continued.

However, he anticipates a favourable result at the AGM.

“I expect a good AGM. The membership has matured. We rely on information to our membership, so we have that information to provide to them. We are not expecting people to come and sit down. We expect them to ask reasonable questions, using reasonable tones so we can have a dialogue at the AGM that is appropriate and conducive to our AGM. We are very optimistic about the outcome of the elections, so we have a fair degree of confidence that we will continue to serve cricket.”

Heaven, who was first elected in 2013, is seeking his third two-year term.