Fri | May 24, 2019

Skerritt wants ‘new results’ in Windies cricket

Published:Friday | March 15, 2019 | 12:44 AMOrville Higgins/Gleaner Writer
Ricky Skerritt at the Marriott Hotel in New Kingston yesterday.
Ricky Skerritt at the Marriott Hotel in New Kingston yesterday.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) presidential candidate Richard “ Ricky” Skerritt has promised to bring some solutions to the challenges now facing West Indies cricket.

Skerritt is challenging current president Dave Cameron, who is seeking a fourth term in office.

Speaking in an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, shortly before he was due to make a presentation to the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), Skerritt, a former West Indies team manager and minister of tourism in St Kitts and Nevis, said that his main aim is to create a vision that could bring new results all round in West Indies cricket.

“My concern is that the incumbents are fighting too many battles away from cricket. We want to be cricket focused again. I have coined the term that the “C” in Cricket West Indies should be about cricket. Right now, it’s a little bit more about Cameron and less about cricket,” the 62-year-old said.

Skerritt is trying to convince the JCA to support his bid for president in the March 24 election. Despite ­nominating the incumbent Cameron of Jamaica, the JCA has insisted that it will not vote along national lines but will support the candidate who it feels has the best message.

REJECTED PROPOSALS

After Cameron was elected unopposed two years ago, Skerritt said he tried to put forward some proposals to the regional cricket board, but these were rejected by the CWI president.

“Two years ago, I was involved in putting forward some proposals about how we should put our corporate governance forward ... When Mr Cameron rejected that, when he took the report and kind of shelved it, it began to worry me a little bit. At that point, I was no longer in government. I was in government for the first three years that I was on the board.”

According to Skerritt, he decided that he wanted to be a part of the think tank that would move CWI in a new direction but was not getting anywhere.

“Mr Cameron was not listening. He did not seem to think there was any need for any changes. He was satisfied with the direction we were taking. So after that 2017 governance review report, I found that it was impossible to work with Cameron, and it’s either I would consider leaving or try to bring a change in the interest of West Indies cricket. I took the latter approach.”

Skerritt said the current board lacked sincerity and integrity and strong balance ... and good relationships with all stake holders.

He bemoans the fact that the High Performance Centre is no longer in existence and says under his presidency, this would be reactivated. He also stressed that the region needed to get back to more grass roots cricket programmes with help from governments around the region. He said that this is not happening now because there were too many “adversarial relationships” with Cameron and some of the region’s leading political figures.

Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Islands boards, have both decided to nominate him, indicating, at least in theory, that they would support his presidential bid. He couldn’t get an audience with some of the other territorial boards who told him up front that they were not inclined to hear his presentation because they had already decided to support Cameron. He found that unfortunate and believes that this kind of cricket politics should be behind us.

Recently, Skerritt was among those who were very critical of the reportedly unilateral way Richard Pybus was selected as West Indies coach without adherence to due process.

While stressing that it was not personal, Skerritt said: “What I have been upset about ... is the way in which Mr Pybus was recruited in an environment where the board was already expressing concern about the propensity and over dependency on coaches from other countries who may not understand the West Indian culture.”