This time around it is the case of Sarwan, the Guyanese batsman who was once positioned as captain of the West Indies team.
Perhaps it is that the WICB has grown so accustomed to losing out to the Players’ representative organisation that defeat is to be expected.
In this dispute the WICB through its CEO, Ernest Hilaire, claimed to have omitted Sarwan from the team because of fitness and attitude issues. The WIPA immediately challenged the accusations for and on behalf of Sarwan.
In the arbitration, Seenath Jairam SC, LLM, ruled against the WICB on every count, a most embarrassing phenomenon.
On 18th June 2012, Justice Jairam ruled, that the selection process was not done in a fair and transparent manner and that the WICB was in breach of Article VII (e) (i) of the MOU. That the integrity of the selection process had not been kept or maintained since public comments had been made which denigrated Sarwan. He also ruled that the appraisal process has not been complied with in accordance with Article VII (a) of the MOU and there had been a clear and unmistakable breach of the requirements set out in Schedule “F” thereof, which as a result led to Sarwan suffering severe loss and damages (Trinidad and Tobago Guardian Online, 12 September 2012).
The ruling suggests therefore that the WICB may well have damaged the player’s reputation and caused him loss of earnings. The ruling also awarded Sarwan $1m USD as compensation, a sum that the WICB must pay.
The ruling should otherwise be most damaging and one would have expected serious repercussions for those responsible. Not so with the WICB, a veritable law unto itself and consistently barefaced in the aftermath of one debacle after another.
In many respects the WICB appears shameless.
The WICB and WIPA have had 15 cases taken to the point of arbitration. Thus far the WIPA has won every one of them.
What does that tell us about the WICB?
Anyone with the barest modicum of good sense would have suggested that if the WICB had lost one or two cases then there would be room for accepting that the members are doing something that is in need of review. When, however, we are speaking of 15 cases and never having won one then it is a matter of grave concern and one would have expected the resignation of the entire WICB at this stage.
Unfortunately the WICB seems cast in some sort of weird mould from which they cannot extricate themselves.
One cannot understand therefore who would have been advising the WICB for so long that they continue to make the same mistakes repeatedly.
The mistakes are very costly as evidenced by this latest award.
Pretty soon individuals may no longer want to serve on any arbitration panel involving the WICB given its record of losing at every case that goes to arbitration.
It is simply amazing that the leadership of the WICB continue to stay at the helm with such ridiculously embarrassing decisions going against them every time.
Could it be possible that the leadership see the decisions as deliberately intended to make them look bad?
That may well be possible but even so after five or six such decisions one would have expected significant fallout to occur and the bosses pack their bags and head for home.
But somehow the current leaders of the WICB seem to feel that they are justified being made to look incompetent so very often.
Historically, the West Indies Cricket Board has not had a very good legacy. The chronicles of the sport in the region would forever highlight the seeming lack of care and inept leadership through the years.
Not so very long ago the WICB’s dispute with Chris Gayle was allowed to drag on almost indefinitely until the politicians got involved and brought the matter to some sort of resolution. Even this did not seem to impact the WICB’s leadership.
Caribbean politicians are given to self-acclaim and chest-thumping of the highest order. That they had to resolve the Gayle matter remains a grave indictment on the WICB. But then again the WICB appears unfazed by such incidents. Shame does not appear to be part of their make-up.
There is a rich legacy of successive WICB leadership making colossal errors. It was their seeming insensitivity that led to the parting of ways with the majority of the team at the time to join the Kerry Packer innovation.
Sparrow has chronicled in song the legacy of successive Boards in the region and their seeming inability to place the athlete first. Instead the athletes seem to receive little by way of consideration.
In the recent past we have heard from Dwayne Bravo and having to deal with injury on his own. This has left him to this day focusing on himself perhaps more than the team. It may well be that following the experience of having been injured and ignored by the WICB during rehabilitation at his own expense, he has learnt some fundamental lessons about how he should treat the WICB and by extension his approach to the sport in the region.
Bravo may not be the only one to adopt this approach.
The WICB therefore has a very poor legacy.
The broader picture
There are many cricket enthusiasts around the Caribbean who are not particularly happy with the performance of Dinanath Ramnarine, the CEO of WIPA. They seem to think that Ramnarine often behaves as though he is angry with the WICB for his own treatment while a player on the West Indies team.
There are others who are angry with Ramnarine if only because he makes claims for players on a West Indies that has been under-performing for years. In other words they are not angry with Ramnarine per se but at the cause he so often represents.
Even in some local circles comments have been made that Ramnarine is only greedy and he has a bunch of greedy players on the West Indies team.
Ramnarine has, however, a proven track record as the CEO of WIPA. On 15 consecutive occasions he has won the claims of the players he represents and the organisation continues to have confidence in his leadership.
Ramnarine can claim to getting the job done, every time.
He is very aggressive but some would argue that this is what is expected of persons leading organisations such as WIPA. Another approach may not have yielded the results he has been able to achieve since taking the helm.
In a previous article by this Columnist we made the point that perhaps too few people are unable and unwilling to distinguish between the rights of the professional players and their performance on the field of play. They do not take the time to analyse the ins and outs of professional sport.
True, professional athletes must always act professional. When they fail to perform there are consequences. But there can be no denying that professional athletes have rights, they know these rights and have organisations led by people who know how to defend those rights.
The last NBA Basketball season in the USA was shortened because the association representing the players made demands and stuck to their claims until they felt convinced that they got a deal from the owners that facilitated the players’ best interests.
We have seen the same thing happen in professional Baseball and again in American Football.
Some years ago the cricketers in Australia held out for better pay and conditions. They are not alone. Unfortunately the WICB has failed to learn the important lessons from the experiences of other professional outfits across the world.
Perhaps it is all a matter of the WICB believing that our West Indies players are not worth much and therefore can be treated with disdain. If indeed such was the thinking in the past there is no reason for it to be still in vogue in light of the 15 consecutive losses the WICB has had to the WIPA.
Reason alone would suggest that WIPA is doing something that the WICB is incapable of doing. If WIPA continually defeats the WICB at arbitration then the latter must review its mode of operation and hasten to make appropriate changes.
But the WICB seems its own judge and jury, seemingly answerable to no one. The monies lost as a result of the 15 arbitrations that went against them do not appear to have in any way forced the leadership to engage in the comprehensive review needed.
Cricket enthusiasts are not only concerned about the West Indies team returning to the glorious days. In keeping with changing times they are also concerned about the weak leadership that exists at the organisation and have been there for some time.
Cricket enthusiasts take pride in the fact that the region has come of age and has produced institutions and individuals who can stand tall amongst the very best in every field of endeavour across the globe.
The fact that the WICB is as weak as it consistently shows itself to be when it comes to treatment of the players then we must all be very concerned and call for some sort of comprehensive review.
Hunte et al must begin to feel some sense of shame and embarrassment enough to force them to consider whether they should give it all up. They have failed the players. They have failed West Indies Cricket.
Perhaps it is unfortunate that some of the foremost cricket analysts in the region, after having fed off the hog may now be too ashamed to be appropriately critical of the WICB.
Whatever about the fortunes of the West Indies team at the pending World Cup, the WICB is in need of a change of leadership. The current crop have proven too costly an investment with nothing to show by way of results.