Skerritt to bat for stakeholder inclusiveness, transparent governance

Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

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As it stands , there appears much to do and very little time to do it.

Such is the task of newly elected Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt, who says work begins in earnest to positively impact the association and, by extension, the region's cricket over the next two years.

Skerritt and his vice-president Dr Kishore Shallow are virtually in a race against time to achieve their intended goals after they unseated Jamaican Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron and his vice-president, Emmanuel Nanthan 8-4 in the elections at Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston on Sunday.

During his campaign, Skerritt campaigned on a 10-point plan, which includes the need for greater transparency and commitment, as he promised to adopt a leadership style entrenched in good governance, performance, and principle to push West Indies cricket forward.

However, he requested patience from stakeholders to allow him to find his footing before having any real expectations.

“This is Cricket West Indies not a government. But it has to behave in ways that are transparent and can focus on specific objectives that please all stakeholders and get stakeholders involved so that they can take ownership of the process.

“That is not going to be easy and we have to start working on that right away because we have to convince some key people that governance advancement is in the interest of West Indies cricket,” Skerritt told journalists after Sunday's vote.

“We are going to have to ask for patience (on the 10-point plan), but there is some basis of those 10 points that are already happening — but most of it needs significant improvements, significant injections, and in the case of (revamping) the HPC (high performance centre) for instance, that is going to be the one that is most costly,” he added.

The 62-year-old Skerritt, will also be aiming to make possible implementations from the Patterson Report.

“We had actually begun to do that under the leadership of Don Wehby and myself and two other independent directors, back in 2016 and 2017. And there is a report that was submitted to the outgoing president which was really a review of the Patterson Report and several others, to try to see which recommendations had actually been implemented and which ones were not.

“So what we have to do now is go back, dust off that 2017 report which is the most recent summary, and use it as a starting point to see which of the governance changes are still relevant and which ones we can implement as quickly as possible,” Skerritt shared.

“I will even try to approach him (Don Wehby).maybe he can somehow find the time out of his busy schedule to look at that report, and even help me with the implementations,” he added.

The former tourism and sport minister of St Kitts and Nevis and former Windies senior team manager, pointed out that steps will also be taken to search within the region for the next possible West Indies senior team coach.

Englishman Richard Pybus is currently guiding the team on an interim basis, following the departure of Australian Stuart Law.

“That has been a vexatious sort of issue. I have to tell you that we believe very strongly in localising the expertise that we put behind our teams, and we believe only in bringing in non-Caribbean expertise only where it is not available across the region,” Skerritt affirmed.

He continued: “We want to be sure that the team does well at all times with the possible resources, but we also have to make sure that they have a Caribbean support team around them.

“So that is the issue which will be looked at...I can't give you any promises or any anticipation of how soon or when there will be changes, but it is an issue that has touched many across the region, [as] people generally want to see Caribbean past cricketers and Caribbean expertise helping to build Caribbean cricket,” said Skerritt.

Finally, the Kittitian has taken notice that his victory was heavily influenced by the endorsements of legendary former players Sir Vivian Richards and Sir Andy Roberts, among others.

“I have no doubt that they influenced [the process] in many ways, they certainly turned on a tremendous amount of people to this debate. Darren Sammy touched well over 10,000 people just in his post. One of the good things about this exercise is that it has raised a lot of debate and a lot of awareness, and it has put a greater expectation on us,” Skerritt opined.

He is now aiming to ensure that those legends are more involved in the move to take West Indies cricket back to its glory days.

“As I sat here in this meeting there were only three actual past players in here — one is the president of WIPA (Wavell Hinds), Nehemiah Perry and Jimmy Adams, and of course, myself as former manager. So there were four of us here that have been in the trenches. We need to get more past players; we have to get the legends involved,” the new CWI boss ended.

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