Heads to mediate in Gayle, Guyana disputes

Published: Saturday | March 10, 2012 Comments 0

Bert Wilkinson, Gleaner Writer

PARAMARIBO, Suriname:

A special prime ministerial subcommittee on cricket will sit down with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and other relevant stakeholders in a bid "to mediate" in the bitter and ongoing dispute between former Jamaica and West Indies captain Chris Gayle, following strong representation from Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and other leaders.

The move came late yesterday at the end of two days of talks involving 11 of the 15 CARICOM leaders in Suriname at which the issue was discussed at length.

The Jamaican prime minister, who has been very vocal on the need for the two parties to settle the issue, had received significant support from other leaders, including Trinidad and other countries.

Trade bloc Chairman and Surinamese President Desi Bouterse told the closing press briefing that the committee has been mandated to review the state of play of the sport, especially as it relates "to the issue of governance".

Bouterse also said that leaders had considered public statements from the WICB that Simpson Miller was misinformed and ill-advised to speak on the Gayle-Board impasse to "be very disrespectful", as the leaders rebuked the Antigua-based governing body for West Indies cricket.

They said that a set of recommendations made in a not-so-recent report by former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson be reviewed and implemented, particularly those relating to governance.

Gayle, widely considered as the leading regional batsman, has not played for the senior team for more than a year. Sources close to the board have said that the powers that be are very upset with him for being less than committed during last year's World Cup campaign when the WI team bowed out very early.

Even before this week's Suriname meeting, Jamaica had made known its anger about not being awarded a Test in the upcoming Australian tour, saying it did not buy explanations about unpredictable weather.

Bouterse said the prime ministerial committee will also look at the Guyana cricket crisis, where the government has moved to disband the board and charge some executives with corruption, leading to mass resignations this week. That issue was also discussed yesterday.

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