Sunday, April 21, 2024

WICB election too close to call


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Barbados’ recent general election was a closely fought battle and I won’t be surprised if the vote for the top posts on the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is the same as well.
The elections are slated to take place in Barbados a week from now and this gives the key candidates time to continue canvassing. My take on elections is that the greatest scrutiny falls on the incumbents because, having been in charge for a period, you can assess how well or how poorly they governed during their time in office.
They are either returned to office if the governed gives their work a passing grade or sent packing if the opposite is true. Of course, there are times when they may not have done that well but use mitigating circumstances to convince voters that they are worthy of another chance to rule.
The coming WICB elections present a similar scenario.
President Dr Julian Hunte is seeking a fourth successive term so there’s a lot about his tenure to be considered and weighed in the performance scales.
He captained the ship during some very rough times on and off the cricket field. The regional team were international whipping boys for long periods and the workings of the administration were often called into question.
There were sustained rumblings with the West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) – and the board was on the losing end consistently.
The board even had a legal duel with major sponsor Digicel and there was also the spectacle of an abandoned Test match in Antigua because the conditions were way below Test standard.
It took the intervention of political intermediaries to settle the row with former captain Chris Gayle and someone speaking out of turn caused the board to compensate Guyanese batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan.
There were more startling events that would have compelled a president in other jurisdictions to meekly resign but Dr Hunte chose not to, or was not forced to. That’s another thing that’s par for the course in Caribbean society since our leaders seldom resign from public office on their own accord.
Perhaps the politician in Dr Hunte dictated his judgement on that score and he stood his ground firmly.
On the other side of the coin, things started to change for the better during the latter half of his current term. The arrival of Ottis Gibson as coach and Darren Sammy as captain has arguably represented one of the best periods in West Indies cricket in terms of performance on the field since the mid-1990s.
We are the World Twenty20 champions and we have seen some needed improvement in the other forms of the game. It is still a work in progress so the best may be yet to come.
And there appear to be easier times at the bargaining table now since the relentless Dinanath Ramnarine stepped down as president of WIPA.
So there are some juicy carrots like the forthcoming Caribbean Premier League which may have caused Dr Hunte to remain in the race.
His decision probably hit his deputy Dave Cameron for six as many felt it would have been a mere formality for the Jamaican to succeed his boss.
It’s an awkward position to be in but the former treasurer of the Jamaica Cricket Board and businessman believes the board needs new leadership in keeping with the global cricketing landscape.
Cameron told the Star newspaper recently: “No one knows what the cricketing landscape will be like in two years’ time, and as such I decided to take my chances.”
This could be an attempt to play the age card because he is 42 and Dr Hunte is 73.
Another interesting point is that the president has Joel Garner as his running mate and Cameron has Dominican Emmanuel Nanthan as his.
As I see it, it’s too close to call.
• Andi Thornhill is an experienced, award-winning freelance sports journalist.


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