THE reign of Whyclife "Dave" Cameron as president of Cricket West Indies (CWI) has come to an end with challenger and former board member Richard "Ricky" Skerritt defeating the Jamaican in the elections held yesterday, during the CWI's Annual General Meeting, at the Pegasus Hotel in Jamaica.
Skerritt, a former St Kitts and Nevis tourism minister and WI team manager, will assume the role of president, winning the voting process by eight votes to four.
His running mate, Dr Kishore Shallow of St Vincent/Grenadines also won his position by a similar margin and will displace Dominica's Emmanuel Nathan as vice-president, bringing to an end Cameron's six-year and very controversial tenure. Prior to yesterday's elections, Cameron made it clear his team was confident on yet another win and they didn't need to campaign to secure a fourth term.
In a joint statement, Skerrit's camp thanked "the thousands of fans, legends, past players, current players, administrators, territorial boards, stakeholders and all other persons who have supported our "Cricket First" campaign." They vowed to not disappoint these supporters, with Skerritt himself adding, "I am humbled and deeply honoured to be elected as president. We pledge to work for improvement on and off the field for West Indies cricket."
Dr Shallow was short but succinct in his victory words as well, indicating, "I am grateful and humbled by the support of the members of the territorial board. This is a victory for West Indies cricket."
It was said that the Windward Islands, Barbados and Guyana boards already pledged their two votes to the Cameron ticket which gifted his regime six of the seven votes required to win the elections. Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Islands pledged to the Skerritt slate, while Jamaica was undecided, which meant there were indeed surprise swing votes that helped depose Cameron.
Skerritt's campaign was built on repairing player relations and improving the economic status of the game regionally, which has clearly paid dividends with former players such as Sir Viv Richards, Darren Sammy, Roger Harper, Deryck Murray, Clive Lloyd and Sir Andy Roberts backing his vision.
In a joint statement from CWI, on their resounding defeats, Cameron and Nanthan said, "We were glad to be able to serve and proud of our achievements. We are happy that we left 123 players under contract. West Indies Cricket now has a home owned by the board at Coolidge Cricket Ground (formerly Stanford Cricket Ground in Antigua). The world championships and bringing back the Wisden Trophy are also other achievements that we are proud of. More than anything else we have a fit youthful team that is prepared to face the world."
They added, "Under this team we made significant strides and you trusted us to safeguard the region's most valuable asset. The tenure was rewarding and full of challenges and we feel proud we have managed to take the cricket to this level. We anticipate the sport will move towards its true potential and we ask the new team to build upon the progress and to continue to fight for equity in world cricket. We were always and will remain grateful for your support."
Cameron has served the regional body for 17 years, with Nanthan accounting for 15 years of service. The outgoing president also took to Twitter to address his online audience, stating, "Just to say thanks for the opportunity to serve West Indies cricket. I remain committed to serve in the region. #TrustTheProcess".
The victory has taken the region by shock, with the general consensus on West Indies' social media platforms responding positively to the outcome of the elections. Domestic board members are yet responded to calls and messages on the change sweeping regional cricket, but one player who vehemently and vociferously backed the retention of Cameron has expressed optimism at the future.
This comes in the form of ex-Windies pacer, Bajan Tino Best, who offered congratulations to Skerritt, his former manager with the maroon, and also thanked Cameron for leaving "a proper legacy with us, in terms of the first-class players and the young Test squad".