By Zaheer E. Clarke
Published March 2, 2015
In my last article I spoke of the pain, disappointment and anger that have lingered since the October fiasco that saw the abandonment of the West Indies tour of India. I went further to mention the frustration and ironies that have plagued this never-ending saga and how it has perfused every aspect of West Indies cricket. Today, I found myself daydreaming on my patio about the Jamaican conundrum in all of this. As the cool wind swirled by, I kept praying that unprofessionalism from all parties would end and strong leadership take its place when I awake from this nightmare involving my deep love.
The Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) that transpired on February 17, 2015 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel could have been a scene from a movie or TV series titled “How to Get Away with A Coup”. Two motions were allegedly filed for the delegates of the JCA to vote on at the AGM. Firstly, to overturn a vote by the JCA board of directors to support Barbadian Joel Garner instead of Jamaican Dave Cameron in the upcoming West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) elections on March 7. Secondly, to indicate that members of the JCA had lost confidence in the leadership of JCA President ‘Billy’ Heaven.
According to my sources that were present at the meeting, Heaven was in “brilliant form” when it came to these two motions. He was blitzing his naysayers’ motions to all parts of the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in similar fashion to how AB de Villiers would unleash an onslaught out of nowhere against unsuspected bowlers. The naysayers and delegates were “stunned”, one source said. To the surprise of the motion presenters and delegates alike, the motions were filed short of the 21 days’ notice required by the JCA constitution. With the advice of at least two lawyers sought and the constitution perused with diligence, Heaven was dispatching all motions against him or his directors’ vote beyond the boundary. Heaven was on the offensive and had his own coup in hand for the motions presented.
PANDEMONIUM FOR PAROCHIALISM
When President Heaven said the motions would not be heard on the AGM floor, “Pandemonium ensued” another source stated. Delegates were overheard saying to each other, it is “a moral right” to vote for Cameron because he was Jamaican “even if he was our enemy”, according to one of my sources. Seriously?
From all my sources, the vast majority of the delegates had no intention to remove Heaven. As many of the delegates shared and one of the motion presenters said at the conclusion of the meeting: “the JCA board (and President Heaven) has been doing a good job”. So if present, I would have asked him, what was the reason for the no-confidence motion? His further reply summed up my fears as reported by another source. “We just wanted to vote for Dave Cameron”. Parochialism it seems was at play and no consideration for what may be or may not be right for West Indies cricket.
In the end, with the advice of his directors, Heaven allowed the almost 90 delegates who had traveled far and wide to vote on whether the JCA would support Garner or Cameron. The delegates returned a vote of 67-22 in favour of Cameron. Parochialism won some would say, others would say the right candidate won the support of the JCA. At the time, I thought it was both. I’m just disappointed with the “dirty politics” that transpired in this another fiasco, one source also stated. It would seem; Cameron has an insurmountable lead with about 8 of the 12 WICB voting members supposedly now supporting him for the upcoming West Indies presidential elections.
THE GAYLE RETWEET
Cameron did not allow the good press to linger for 3 days before he sent Jamaicans and West Indian fans worldwide into a furore. He retweeted on Friday, February 20, during West Indies match against Pakistan “Gayle goes… Can’t buy a run. Let’s give him a retirement package … Can’t fail repeatedly and still front up based on reputation.”
Jamaican, fellow Kensington club member and West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) President Wavell Hinds through a statement was forced to chastise Cameron’s negative retweet about Chris Gayle. Jamaican Michael Holding was probably the first to come out swinging or bowling, and rightfully so, against Cameron’s retweet on ESPN Match Point coverage of the 2015 Cricket World Cup (CWC).
Cameron quickly removed the retweet from his Twitter account and offered the following apology: “No offense intended. Full apologies extended. Rally round the West Indies”. A little too late, some said. Others asked him to tweet his resignation next. For some, this was definitely in retaliation to Gayle’s public post-match rant recently about the omission of fellow players Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard from the West Indies 2015 CWC squad. Both men (Gayle and Cameron) were wrong for their public outbursts.
Some say Gayle responded last week with a World Cup record 215 runs off 147 balls and the tweet motivated him. Gayle, however, has attributed it to his fellow teammates, friends and fans all wishing him well and supporting him during his dry spell.
Heaven, Cameron, the JCA directors and members, Hinds, and Gayle are all Jamaicans at the middle of this conundrum that has surfaced since October. I beseech all parties to act professionally, leave the “dirty politics” behind and provide strong leadership on their own platforms for the benefit of West Indies and Jamaica cricket. Let’s leave all hatchets behind, rise above and move forward. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said “The time is always right to do what is right”. Now is that time.
As I open my eyes and look beyond my patio to the horizon and recall the numerous twists and turns, pain and disappointment since this all began that fateful October, I find solace in another Dr. King quote: “There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”
Until next time …
From the “Lies & Statistics” Column in the Western Mirror (Published March 2, 2015)