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JCA wins verdict against clubs

Published:Saturday | March 6, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Barbara Gayle, Staff Reporter

The Jamaica Cricket Association Ltd (JCA) scored a major victory on Thursday in the Supreme Court against two cricket clubs which are its members.

Supreme Court Judge Ingrid Mangatal ruled that Rule 1 of the JCA's handbook, which sets out the penalties for breaches by clubs or parishes, was discretionary and not mandatory, as the clubs claimed.

The St Catherine Cricket Club and Melbourne Cricket Club had sought declarations from the Supreme Court that the rule dealing with loss of points for breaches committed by clubs or parishes was mandatory.

The disagreement between the parties stemmed from the JCA's decision to fine the Manchester parish team instead of taking away points because it had an ineligible player in the Jamaica Super Cricket League competition last year.

The Manchester parish team was declared the winner of the Super Cricket League competition and the two cricket clubs challenged the JCA's decision not to deduct points from the Manchester parish team as well.

Rule 1, which deals with the registration of players, states that should any club or parish be found guilty of a breach of the rule, then it shall suffer loss of any points gained in the match in which the breach was committed, and/or may be fined.

The two clubs, which were represented by attorneys-at-law Roderick Gordon and Chandice Castillo, claimed that the section dealing with loss of points was mandatory, while the section dealing with the fine was discretionary.

No right to appeal

The clubs also sought a declara-tion that they were entitled to appeal the decision regarding the Manchester parish team's use of an ineligible player in the competi-tion, but the judge ruled that the clubs had no right of appeal or any right to be heard by the JCA.

The JCA, which was represented by attorney-at-law Maliaca Wong, also asked the court to interpret Rule 1.

In interpreting the rule, the judge said, "The meaning of Rule 1 of the JCA's handbook is that the board of the JCA has the discretion to cause a club or parish found guilty of a breach of the rule to forfeit any points gained in those matches in which the breach was committed; or to fine that club or parish; or to cause it to forfeit the points and to pay a fine".

The judge also declared that "participants (such as the claimants) have no right of appeal nor any right to be heard by the JCA in relation to the JCA's exercise of its discretion under Rule 1 in relation to another competitor's breach of Rule 1".

The judge said the board of the JCA did not act in breach of the rules of natural justice by not affording the claimants a hearing prior to deciding on the appropriate manner in which to sanction Manchester parish team's breach.

It was the judge's view that the JCA and its members should consider amending Rule 1 to achieve the desired clarity, because it had not been drafted in the clearest of terms.

"In other words, the amendment should make the intended discretion clear," she said.

She also called on them to consider whether a dispute resolution, such as that which exists in the Barbadian Rule 23, may prove useful to the cricketing community, the JCA and its members.

The Barbadian Rule 23 states that complaints and disputes between member clubs and the association must first be referred to the board for resolution and then to arbitration.

The judge said she was making no order for legal costs in light of the nature of the relationship between the parties and the nature of the issues.