Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) presidential hopeful, Billy Heaven, said should he be elected, one of his main areas of focus will be to reposition the game as a sport of choice in the hearts and minds of Jamaicans.
Speaking at a Kiwanis Club of North St Andrew luncheon last week, Heaven said he did not expect this to be a hard task.
He said looking at the support that was rendered to Jamaica hosting a franchise in the just-concluded Caribbean Premier League Twenty20, it brought home to him the fact that cricket has a large following.
It is just for the authorities, he said, to organise and galvanise the support necessary that will capture the imagination of cricket and sports enthusiasts.
"The recently-concluded Caribbean Premier League confirmed that cricket is still a priority sport," said Heaven.
"What is therefore required is for those who are in authority to organise the sport in a way so that it peaks interest and increases participation," he noted.
The former National Development Foundation head, who is set to face off with JCA vice-president, Milton Henry, for the presidency, also shared with the gathering some of the things he hoped to achieve, if elected.
He pointed out that given the changed landscape of sports, and cricket specifically, worldwide policies, programmes and practices need to be changed to reflect same.
"The reality is that we have to start seeing the game within the context of a global industry and emerging markets," said Heaven, CEO of the government-run CHASE Fund.
"It, therefore, cannot be business as usual if the game is to progress."
He went to add that for him and his team, the aim will be to focus on two primary areas of development, a "cricket development model" and a "business development model".
In terms of cricket as a game, Heaven said the focus would be on four areas - people, facilities, training and product development. As it relates to cricket as a business, emphasis would be placed on financial stability, marketing and promotions and administration and management.
Heaven, who along with Henry are seeking to replace Lyndel "Muddy" Wright, who will not seek re-election, also outlined JCA policy areas he was looking to address.
This includes review and revision of the association's constitution, especially as it relates to the directors and term limits; and an assessment of the significance and importance of various committees.
The JCA presidential election and election of officers is set for early November, during the association's next scheduled annual general meeting.
Heaven also used the occasion to outline members of his executive slate who are down to contest the elections.
They include Dr Donovan Bennett (first vice-president), Courtney Walsh (second vice-president), Fritz Harris (secretary), Clinton Clarke (assistant secretary), Wayne Sutherland (treasurer) and Hopeton Morrison (assistant treasurer).
Henry, a current West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) director, who has the backing of Wright, is to announce his slate of candidates during an official launch of his candidacy.