First, congratulations for acting, however belatedly, as if you've finally recalled that you're a Jamaican first and volunteering your talents to the Jamaican national cricket team once again.
It's a good start on the road to rehabilitation. Christopher, please understand, that this letter isn't written to you as legal advice, although some malicious persons will allege I'm a lawyer. Not true.
I was trained in the law and hold a Practising Certificate issued (perhaps in error) by the General Legal Council but, instead, I've become a stubborn simpleton who refuses to obfuscate. Who I really am is a philosopher. Despite the misfortune of my choice of profession, I've long ago recognised that spiritual truth trumps man-made law every time. You may not have been offered a similar opportunity.
So here I am imparting my warped and obstinate philosophical advice to you based on spiritual awareness. Resist the temptation to assess this epistle based on law, religion or any academic concept of 'justice'. I would never try to share any of those concepts. What I am trying to share with you is a small piece of my acquired wisdom which has taken me more than twice your real lifetime to gain.
Christopher, principle number one is, you must always remember where you came from and what made you who you are. Had you never played for the Jamaica national cricket team, no one would know your name. You would have the privilege of entering a Boston pub named Cheers to stony silence. You could take any seat you wanted; order your libation and consume in peace, quiet and happiness. Not a living soul would interfere with your serenity to request an autograph. Nobody would know your name.
So, as long as you are capable of playing cricket, the Jamaica team must be your first priority. Unless you are playing for the West Indies, of which Jamaica is still a member territory, you must show up for local duties except for emergencies and mutually agreed contracts to play elsewhere. You must ensure that your contracts to play elsewhere don't interfere too deeply with your duty to Jamaica. It's your responsibility, Christopher, nobody else's.
decide on the right thing
Now, here is my promise to you. The spiritually based, immutable, philosophical truth is this: It matters not how much proposed earnings you spurn in the discharge of this responsibility. If you behave in a manner to put Jamaica first, even if it means missing an entire IPL season, I absolutely guarantee you that, somewhere, somehow, you will find that the so-called 'lost' earnings returned to you two- and threefold. But it's important that you do not, in your decision-making process, consider which decision will earn more for you. Your decision must be made because you feel it is the right thing to do.
If, on the other hand, you rush off to the IPL (for example) and spurn your spiritual obligation to your country, you will make some short-term earnings but you will find that, in the long term, the life attitude that sent you on the road to those earnings will, somewhere, somehow, ensure that you end up earning much less than you could otherwise earn. Take it from me, Christopher, money follows righteousness, righteousness does not follow money. Money comes and goes. Righteousness is forever.
So we come to your current plight with your employer, the WICB (remember, Christopher, we aren't talking law here). In my world, Jamaica is your country, to which you owe deep-rooted spiritual obligations; the WICB is your employer, to which you owe contractual obligations (whether you have a written contract or not). Christopher, I sympathise with your position. In my opinion, the WICB is the most incompetent, inefficient, inept, soulless, unjust, disgrace ever to visit itself upon sports administration. And remember, it competes for that title with the likes of FIFA, CONCACAF and the JFF. However, as a fan whose livelihood doesn't depend on the WICB, I'm free to say so. In real life, in the world in which both you and I live, you are not so free.
disgruntled workers' club
Christopher, join the club. After we watch you bat, bowl and field with distinction, we must all return to our humdrum jobs working for employers we can't stand and whose jobs we are certain we could do better. But none of us have the brash, silly, impetuous cheek to say so publicly. We huddle around the water cooler or in groups in the lunchroom and gossip endlessly regarding our bosses' incompetence and their abuse of us as employees. If we are lucky enough to work in an institution with a trade union and the perceived hurt is sufficiently egregious, we complain to the union and then sit back and watch the union carry our grievance forward with management.
By this method, we keep our anonymity and our wicked bosses can never say that we said anything offensive about them. Since we believe our bosses to be petty and incompetent, we expect that they'll act to our detriment if they should learn what we're saying about them. As one of my notorious high-school geography teachers used to say about education (with the necessary change), "Education is like a knife. I hold the handle. You hold the blade. All I have to do is DRAW and blood will spill!"
So it is, too, with employment, Christopher. Another thing I learnt decades ago, Christopher, is that, if one buys a dog, one must try one's best not to do its barking for it. West Indies cricketers have a most aggressive, committed and effective trade union. I don't care what the law or any other jackass might tell you, Christopher, WIPA, by any other name, is a trade union. What on earth possessed you to repeatedly make derogatory remarks about your employers (or, worse, persons from whom you know you will be seeking future work call them whatever you will) when you have WIPA available to you to carry your fight on your behalf while protecting you from any possible victimisation? Worse, you kept on making these public statements while WIPA was in dialogue with the WICB about exactly those issues.
Christopher, in my humble opinion, you were wrong in any language and in any country. It's time you admit that you were wrong. You keep asking WICB to state exactly what you are to apologise for. I'm sure you have all sorts of sycophantic 'friends' and 'advisers', some hoping for a piece of your future earnings or to fill advertising space in their particular medium advising you in all sorts of legalistic terms about disciplinary proceedings; your entitlement to particulars of the charges against you; and so on and so 'fifth'.
Balderdash! There's no due process in employment; there's only the employment knife whose handle is firmly in your grasp. What are you going to do, Christopher? The WICB has kindly not yet 'drawn', but has given you yet another window of opportunity to let go of the knife unbloodied. Since they are not going to tell you what you have done wrong, read this letter again and see if you can locate what this intrusive, unsolicited, offensive letter has identified as your 'wrong'.
What you did 'wrong', Christopher, is to act foolishly and intemperately. You publicly spoke ill of your past and future employer when there was no need for you to do so. You bought a dog (WIPA) and then repeatedly barked. I don't know where you're living, Christopher, but, in the real world, we usually pay tuition fees for education. Consider the requested apology your tuition fee for learning that employment is like a knife. Ask the WICB for the exact terms of the apology they require and then sign it and publish it without delay. Many persons, in positions of far more so-called 'importance' than you, including former prime ministers, have spoken in haste and been forced to publicly apologise later.
Be a man, Christopher. Do the right thing. Apologise for your rash intemperance in terms that will please your employers. Get back to playing for the West Indies. Watch your bank account grow again. Then you can work together with WIPA to improve the conditions of all cricketers rather than making it all about you. Stick to batting, bowling, fielding and the occasional captaincy. Leave the barking to your trusted dogs.
Peace and love.
Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to email@example.com.