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T&T cricket—A non-stop movie

Thursday, May 17, 2018

“More bacchanal than cricket administration” was the headline; the author was none other than Surujdath Mahabir, president of the Secondary Schools Cricket League. Poor him. How can he be so brazen to criticise ‘King Azim’ and ‘Prince Dinas’? People have been attending meetings and leaving frustrated by the total bacchanal. King Azim aka President of the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) (somebody told me that the acronym should represent the Terrible Trinbago Cricket Board) and Prince Dinas told Suruj he should put his house in order with King Azim saying for him to “look at what is happening at the Secondary Schools Cricket League”. It seemed that for the first time, the King and Prince agreed on something.

The man got bounced from a good length, short of a length and even a full toss turned out to be a beamer. No wonder the gentleman appears timid to voice his opinions in meetings, perhaps resorted to the feeling that his contributions are invalid.

Let’s examine some facts. This movie started when a resolution was passed at the special general meeting of the Board on August 10th 2017 (yes, 2017) that the TTCB appoints a three-person Independent Review Committee (IRC) to carry out an impartial and independent examination of its governance structure. The three-member committee comprised of Justice Vasheist Kokaram (Chairman), Ellis Lewis and Dr Sheila Rampersad—all well qualified for the job with the IRC’s mandate to review and recommend amendments and changes that they deem necessary. This to ensure that the TTCB’s constitution is in accordance with the fundamental principles of good governance and best practice.

There were a 5-point Terms of Reference (TOR) for the IRC. (1) All the stakeholders were informed they can make submissions to the IRC no later than 14 days from their appointment. (2) The IRC could have met with any stakeholder that they may deem necessary. (3) The IRC should also submit their report and recommendations to the TTCB within 45 days of their appointment. (4) The TTCB then had 10 days following receipt of the report to make a final determination on its recommendations. (5) The TTCB was to provide all necessary support required by the IRC and bear all costs associated with the process.

We are in the middle of May 2018 and we have gotten nowhere with the report. I understand that the idea for this IRC was moved on the said motion led by the South East and East zones as it was felt that an independent report would allow the parties to come out of court. It was also a good time for the Board to look at the governance structure and save on expenses. Expenses which they claim they don’t have if they don’t go to court and reduce the negative impact that continuously follows this Board. All 11 executive members - including King Azim - voted in favour of the resolution.

When the 45 days elapsed, the IRC indicated they needed more time due to the magnitude of the work, and the King agreed. Some executive members were unaware of the extension as the King never brought it to the full Board to amend the resolution. To make the change to the resolution for an increase in the 45 days should have come to the Board, therefore the first breach was committed by the King and his executive. When the eventual report was submitted by the IRC, the Board was required to call a meeting within 10 days. Naturally, that never happened and the excuses came in as fast and as furious as a Jason Statham movie as to why the report could not be handed out. After the resolution was breached, a special meeting was called and another Prince, Zaheer came into the movie and he objected to the breaches of the resolution and resultantly, he said the report could not be considered until the breaches were addressed. Surely the resolution could have been corrected and dealt with by the membership but no says the new Prince, the King and their loyal followers.

It was then proposed that legal advice is sought and after the Board agreed to this, they unilaterally decided not to take the advice. This movie can go on and on.

Let’s cut to the chase. If the IRC report has some irregularities and some changes need to be made then for cricket’s sake, sit around a table like adults and sort it out. I understand that a formal proposal has been made to the TTCB to accept the report with the changes so the parties can come out of court and call an election within 90 days of the IRC report. If this is done, it could save the Board roughly $1.5M. The IRC recommendation takes the vote count from 49 to 132 which gives the cricket fraternity a wider say in the governance of its sport.

Suruj, as you said, “what we need is probably a new set of Administrators and get rid of everybody else. Get a new bunch of people who really interested in the cricket and not the politics”. Stay tuned T&T, the movie is sure to continue…

Colin Murray


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