Dwayne Bravo, who recently held the position as captain of West Indies one-day cricket team, was central to the abandonment of the Indian cricket tour after four one-day matches. This was as a result of disagreement between most senior players with its union, West Indies Players Association (WIPA), and West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), their employer, over an MOU between the parties. One of the consequences of aborting the contractual obligations of the tour is that the BCCI has filed an initial claim of US42 million on the WICB.
If Bravo knew that a claim of US4$2 million was a possible consequence of this strike, then he was reckless. However, if he never envisaged that this would happen, then he is very careless and not fit to be a leader. My recollection was that it was Bravo who announced the termination of the Indian tour, even while the board was saying otherwise, and it was Bravo who announced that the South African tour is on. Bravo is the 'Big Man'. Bravo also usurped the authority of his union. Players in the modern world do not get involved in negotiation with employers but leave it to agents or a trade union. Bravo has set an unsustainable precedent and the board should not countenance such a development.
QUESTIONS FOR BRAVO
Finally, Bravo has some questions to answer. Bravo is in South Africa for a T20 tournament. When did he sign this contract? If it is before the Indian tour, it would appear that he was not planning to be part of the Test team and the cancellation of the Test matches would be no big deal for him. If the contract was signed after the termination of the Indian tour, then in solidarity with others who are on strike, he as leader of the strike should not have taken up another job while some of his fellow cricketers are losing earnings, the bone of contention for the strike.
There was a comedy of errors concerning this tour. The response to Bravo's letter by Wavell Hinds, WIPA president, should have been a visit to India to avert what eventually happened. Furthermore, the WICB's CEO should have also gone to India after the first one-day, recommending arbitration. The WICB blundered big time by having players start a tour without a signed tour contract, and players, once they start a tour without a signed contract, should not abort it. In addition, a collective bargaining agreement with major changes was not thoroughly ventilated. In other words, the meeting after the abortion of the tour should have been held before the tour or during the tour.
CLEAN UP MESS
The only reason why the president of the board, Dave Cameron, and some other board members should not resign is because someone has to be there to clean up this mess. In addition, what was the advice of WICB directors, Professor Hilary Beckles, the incoming vice-chancellor of UWI, and Don Wehby, head of GraceKennedy, one of the largest conglomerates in Jamaica, in this crisis?
The management, players, etc., who aborted the tour, or caused the tour to be cancelled, should appear before the disciplinary committee to determine whether anyone is to be punished. This sense of entitlement to be in world cricket, and so the Indian board will not seek to recover what is legitimate, is degrading and demeaning to Caribbean people.
CARICOM is not an ATM and should not pay a red cent. CARICOM countries invested billions in hosting 2007 World Cup and that is enough.
The board and WIPA need to sell its assets, borrow money, fine players, and show the Indian board that they are serious with some resignations, punishments and then try to re-negotiate the claim for damages.
Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.