CWI boss Skerritt defends Guyana meeting: 'I'm only hostile to illegitimacy'

CWI president Ricky Skerritt  -
CWI president Ricky Skerritt -

Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt has acknowledged meeting Guyanese Sports Minister Charles Ramson Jr, although the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) was not invited.

In an interview with Newsday on Tuesday, Skerritt, who is seeking re-election on March 28, said this meeting took place with Guyana cricket's best interest at heart.

The GCB has not held an election in over a decade. Its latest attempt at an election last month ended in postponement, despite two of the three county boards being present – a quorum under the Guyana Cricket Administration Act.

Ramson Jr in January called the GCB "illegitimate" and refused to engage with it.

Skerritt's meeting with the Guyana minister has been criticised by some members of the GCB, including Anand Sanasie, who is challenging Skerritt for the CWI presidency. Sanasie has reported Skerritt to the CWI Ethics Committee.

Skerritt told Newsday, "They are a lot of issues at stake in Guyana (in) which we are hopeful for a peaceful and legitimate conclusion, so Guyana can be well served by a GCB that is properly put together."

Of the current board, he said, "I have nothing against the GCB. I've been to the GCB to meet with them. But I've also met with the other cricket officials elsewhere who are unhappy with what is happening.

"We want the best for Guyana cricket.

"They're giving the impression that I'm hostile to GCB, but I'm only hostile to illegitimacy. I'm friendly with cricket. Some of my favourite people are Guyanese. How can you stand up and say you represent cricket when the court says differently or you are challenging the court?"

Skerritt said the GCB's court battles and spats with the Guyanese Minister of Sport do not augur well for the region.

"We want a peaceful partnership – we need a partnership between the private sector and public sector if cricket is going to thrive. Sanasie and these guys have been at war with governments. We can't have people running West Indies cricket who are going to start fighting with governments again. Governments need to be allies."

Skerritt said the problems within the GCB remain unresolved.

"If you speak to Mr Sanasie, he will tell you that the GCB has had elections. The issue on Guyana is really about...the executive of the GCB, of which Mr Sanasie is one of the head honchos. How they have managed to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and keep the judiciary busy from since the Guyana Cricket Administration Act was brought into operation (in 2014). The act was brought to bring legitimacy to the GCB. They still haven't been able to sort out the mess."

Asked about his predecessor Dave Cameron endorsing Sanasie for CWI leadership, Skerritt said, "It was no surprise. Sanasie and (vice president hopeful) Calvin Hope are well-known partners of my predecessor...That goes back many years. They are very strong allies and friends. Sanasie said Cameron has nothing to do with his campaign, but the same day Cameron was campaigning for him. Why are you distancing yourself from your best friend?"

Skerritt said he still believed in term limits for CWI presidents, which was part of his initial campaign.

"I still believe as strongly as I did – in fact I feel stronger today than I did two years ago. I'm telling you now, this would be my last term should I get into office. I have no interest serving West Indies cricket as president beyond this term.

"The term limits proposed by the Wehby report – the report proposes a term of three years, and nobody serves more than two three-year terms.

"Whether I'm going to serve a two-year or three-year term, that is going to be the end for me. I will continue to serve at the local level by helping kids. Where I come from, in St Kitts and Nevis, there is no girls' cricket and I think that's an area that needs leadership and help."

Skerritt also dismissed the notion that the West Indies team's performance this year could influence the outcome of the election.

West Indies beat Sri Lanka in the T20 and ODI series, and meet on Sunday in the first of two Test matches. The 2021 calendar also includes fixtures against South Africa, Australia and Pakistan.

"The performance of the team affects how Caribbean people feel.

"But they also hate to see the team lose badly. We love to see the players fighting, working hard and showing some passion for playing. They don't want to see players give up easily, or bottle under pressure, or not look like they learnt anything from the last time they played.

"Caribbean people feel good about the team right now, and they will continue to do so, as that is the new culture that has been inculcated. But they're not perfect and they will get beaten. But what is important is they continue to show improvement.

"The election is about 12 people invested that WI cricket is well managed. It's about which philosophy they support.

"My philosophy is that the presidential role is not an executive role, but more a chairmanship, and you must get the best people to work for you and let them work uninterrupted, but monitored.

"My competition believes the board should micromanage everything. That is antiquated. They don't believe you should have changes with how they operate. They only taking moves out of the playbook of my predecessor.

"I hope they will see the difference between my style and that of the past."


"CWI boss Skerritt defends Guyana meeting: ‘I’m only hostile to illegitimacy’"

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