by Mike King
Ricky Skerritt is seeking to end Dave Cameron’s six-year reign as president of Cricket West Indies (CWI).
The former West Indies team manager, who hails from St Kitts and Nevis, has thrown his hat in the ring and will challenge Cameron at the CWI elections in Jamaica on March 24.
On the ticket is president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association, Dr Kishore Shallow, for vice-president. Both candidates’ nominations were supported by the Leeward Islands Cricket Board and Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board.
Cameron, of Jamaica, and vicepresident Emmanuel Nanton of Dominica have been nominated by the Windwards Islands and seconded by Guyana.
Barbados may support Cameron
The Weekend Nation understands Barbados is likely to support Cameron. It means the Jamaica vote will be crucial.
The Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) elections are slated for February 28 with incumbent Bill Haven being challenged for the presidency by Mark Neita.
Indications are if Haven wins, he will support Skerritt, while a Neita win could mean a JCA endorsement of the 47-year-old Cameron.
A total of 12 votes, two each for six member territories, are at stake in the forthcoming elections, with the nominations closing on Sunday.
The delegation from Barbados will comprise Gregory Nicholls and Jason King.
The board of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) had originally chosen Roland Butcher as a delegate, but he was replaced by Nicholls at a highly charged meeting just over a week ago.
The experienced Skerritt, 62, and 35-year-old Shallow, 35, both have impressive leadership track records and share a lifelong love of cricket. They have created a robust ten-point “Cricket First” plan that identifies the strategies needed to regain global competitiveness and dominance.
Focus on youth development
It focuses on the skill and character development of young players with extensive use of science, technology and innovation.
If elected, Skerritt has promised to immediately seek the reallocation of resources currently used for centralised activities by CWI, to where it matters most with local grassroots cricket, coaching development, and the territorial governing bodies.
In a release yesterday, Skerritt, who served as West Indies team manager from 2000 to 2004, said that if elected, he would trim the size of the president’s budget.
“By my estimation, too much cost is being wasted on administrative and non-cricket related activities including the high price of running an elaborate office for the president,” said Skerritt. “The budget for the president’s office has been growing alarmingly in recent years, and I intend to reallocate a sizeable portion of that budget to grassroots cricket,” he added.
The plan presents strategies to simplify but strengthen administration, improve the regional franchise programme, and increase support for younger cricketers through international exposure and a more decentralised high performance system.
The plan promises a realignment of team selection criteria, with a renewed focus on talent spotting and development.
“Every dollar CWI spends in the future should relate in some way to the growth and betterment of all those involved in our beloved game.”
Shallow said he was convinced to join Skerritt as a vicepresidential candidate because he holds the view that “West Indies cricket is far better than our current status suggests”.
In addition to the plan, Skerritt and Shallow are expressing strong opposition to recent moves by the incumbents to create an “executive status” for the elected office of the CWI president.
According to Skerritt, “After six years as president, Dave Cameron’s intention to implement sweeping changes to the democratic process of decision-making within West Indies Cricket is troubling. His desire to lead CWI as a full-time executive, is not reflective of the West Indies cricket ethos.
“By advancing his plans for an autocratic leadership structure, which marginalises the role of commercially recruited executives, the incumbent has placed his personal thinking diametrically opposed to the values of West Indies cricket.”
The ten-point plan presented by Ricky Skerritt and Dr Kishore Shallow. (GP)