WEST Indies Retired Players Foundation committee member Dr Nigel Camacho said he was shocked to hear US$500,000 was sent by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to Cricket West Indies for the benefit of past players.
Speaking to Newsday on Tuesday, Camacho said the foundation has no knowledge that any former players ever benefited from the donation sent between 2013-2014.
The donation was made public recently by former West Indies fast bowling legend Michael Holding on his Youtube programme Mikey – Holding Nothing Back. In the programme, Holding read from an audit conducted by external and independent auditor Parnell Kerr Foster (PKF).
Concerning the money, Holding said, “I am a past player. I am not saying I want any of it, but I know a lot of past players. I’ve never heard of one cent out of that half a million US dollars going to any past player and I am absolutely sure if they had done that, they would have made a hullabaloo about it, a big press conference (to say), ‘Look what we are doing for the former players.’ Half a million dollars – where is that half a million dollars?”
Camacho said he spoke to other members of the foundation and they too are unaware of the BBCI donation.
“When Michael Holding brought it up, we had a meeting to discuss it. Not a single member of our board has any physical evidence of US$500,000 coming anywhere near our organisation.” The current members of foundation are chairman Patterson Thompson, Wavell Hinds, Nixon McLean, Sanjay Amin, Radcliffe Bailey and Camacho.
The audit raised concerns of financial mismanagement by past administration. On Tuesday, it was reported by CNC3 that former CWI president Dave Cameron issued a legal letter to CWI demanding a copy of the PKF audit.
Cameron gave CWI 48 hours to make the audit available to him or he would take the matter to court.
The retired players foundation, formed in July 2013, was the brainchild of Cameron and created by CWI and the West Indies Players Association. One of the aims of the foundation is to provide better health care and living conditions for past players.
Camacho, who has been part of the foundation since inception, said the foundation has been struggling and the constant battle between players and the board has not helped.
“It has been a very difficult seven years in terms of the foundation because the trust of the players has been difficult to get. There has been so much bad blood between the West Indies Cricket Board (and the players)…it has never been a great relationship.”
Discussing the money allegedly sent by BCCI for past players, Camacho recalled a former CWI official told him the BCCI was interested in assisting the foundation but he couldn’t recall a figure being discussed.
“I can’t recall the sum of money and I am telling you I have no documented proof of what monies were promised, I never saw it so I don’t even know if it took place. The fact that in the audit it arose, it must have taken place.”
Camacho said not many past players have been supported since the foundation started.
In 2014, when Camacho took over briefly as chairman of the foundation, a bank account was created in TT. He said the foundation was given approximately TT$50,000 from CWI (formerly West Indies Cricket Board).
“In a few circumstances, a few people were helped, but they won’t helped with money from this retired players foundation, they were helped with money directly from the West Indies Cricket Board. Players like Seymour Nurse, Rangy Nanan, Jackie Hendriks and Franklyn Rose were all helped by the retired players foundation’s requests, although the monies were disbursed directly from the West Indies Cricket Board. These gentlemen received assistance when they required assistance.”
Camacho said help given to Trinidadian Nanan ($5,000), Barbadian Nurse ($10,000), Jamaican Hendriks ($5,000) and Jamaican Rose ($5,000) totalled US$25,000.
Nanan, who died in 2016, was supported after suffering a stroke a few years before his death. Nurse, who died in 2019, also received funds for medical aid after experiencing kidney problems.
Camacho said he was “saddened” to hear US$500,000 was donated to past players and the foundation did not have access to it.
“I have never physically seen actual evidence of this money being paid to the West Indies Cricket Board. I know in the audit it is there, I believe, I have never seen the audit myself, but I am saddened to hear this because if the money was promised to actually get the foundation up and running...”
Camacho believes the foundation needs to function independently to regain trust and relationship with players.
Newsday contacted a current CWI director and a past director but both declined comment. Efforts to contact Cameron were unsuccessful as calls to cellphone numbers he previously used went unanswered.