The Jamaican government is confirming that president of the West Indies Cricket Board Julian Hunte has requested a meeting with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller on Wednesday (tomorrow) in a bid to diffuse tension over the exclusion of former captain West Indies captain Chris Gayle from the West Indies team as well as other issues in regional cricket.
“No time has been set but a request has been made for the president of the WICB to meet with the prime minister on Wednesday,” Senator Sandrea Falconer, Minister Without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for information, told the Observer early Tuesday.
Falconer rejected as unfounded reports circulating in some circles that Hunte had set pre-conditions for the meeting.
“Nobody has set any conditions for a meeting with the prime minister of Jamaica … that has not been communicated to the Office of the Prime Minister and the prime minister of Jamaica would not agree to that,” Falconer said.
News broke on Monday that Hunte had decided at a meeting of WICB directors in St Lucia on the weekend to personally apologise to Simpson Miller for comments deemed “inappropriate” in a statement issued by the WICB secretariat last week.
Gayle has not played for the West Indies since the ICC World Cup in Asia last year following a quarrel with the cricket authorities. The WICB secretariat continues to demand that Gayle should apologise for remarks he made last year about Windies coach Otis Gibson and the WICB.
But Gayle supporters contend that he was not given a hearing by an established disciplinary committee, and that in any case, he has already been punished enough.
The JCA and Simpson Miller responded furiously to comments from the WICB secretariat which substantially said the Jamaican prime minister had spoken from a position of ignorance when she addressed issues involving regional cricket at a JCA Awards Dinner just over a week ago.
Simpson Miller had weighed in on the Gayle issue as well as the non-inclusion of Jamaica as a venue for the upcoming Australia tour of the Caribbean.
- Garfield Myers