PRESIDENT of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Ricky Skerritt said he was disappointed that president of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Conde Riley chose to support the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) and failed to attend the CWI Annual General Meeting (AGM), on Sunday.
Incumbent president Skerritt and vice-president Dr Kishore Shallow were expected to be challenged by Guyana's Anand Sanasie and vice-presidential candidate Calvin Hope of Barbados.
Representatives of the BCA and the GCB were absent resulting in the postponement of the AGM to April 11.
A CWI media release on Sunday said the AGM was supposed to start at 10 am but was adjourned owing to a lack of a quorum.
The CWI media release, said, "The meeting, therefore, could not proceed to business as the CWI Articles of Association stipulate that nine representatives of the full members need to be present in person to constitute a quorum. All eight representatives duly authorised to represent the Jamaica Cricket Association, Leeward Islands Cricket Board, TT Cricket Board (TTCB) and the Windward Islands Cricket Board were present."
In a Whatsapp message to Newsday, Skerritt said, "Disappointed that the president of the BCA has allowed himself to be caught in this web of trickery."
CWI Articles of Associations state that if there is no quorum within 30 minutes from the time appointed for the meeting, it shall be adjourned to the next business day or to such time as the board of directors may determine.
CWI said attempts to reach the representatives from the BCA and GCB were unsuccessful. The meeting was eventually adjourned at 10.50 am.
The CWI board of directors subsequently held an emergency board meeting and decided that the AGM will resume on April 11 at 10 am.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, the GCB explained why representatives did not attend. The release said, "The main reason for this decision was that the current leadership of CWI failed to conform with the statutory requirements of the Articles of Association and present audited financial statement of CWI. Financial statements must be sent to shareholders 14 days before the AGM and are required to be approved by the board of directors. This was not done for the first time in decades."
In the AGM timeline, the CWI said a "CWI board of directors meeting to consider and approve accounts" was held on March 11.
On March 13, "Draft CWI financial statements (were) sent to all members, having been approved by audit risk and compliance and finance committees and CWI board of directors."
On March 26, "Complete set of documents, including final audited consolidated financial statements including Coolidge Cricket Ground Inc, sent to all members" and on March 27 "All full member representatives confirm receipt of AGM documents and confirm their attendance."
Efforts to contact Sanasie proved futile up to press time on Sunday.
The GCB elections were also postponed on February 26 and are now scheduled to be held on Monday. There was enough for a quorum on February 26 as two of the three county boards were present including Berbice and Demerara.
According to the News Room in Guyana, cricket ombudsman Kamal Ramkarran said, "The Essequibo Cricket Board, through its attorney, had raised some complaints with regards to verification of clubs in an email to him." The development led to the postponement of the elections.
President of the TT Cricket Board (TTCB) Azim Bassarath did not expect representatives of the GCB and the BCA to be absent at the CWI AGM.
"I think we were more than surprised and shocked," Bassarath told Newsday.
"What has happened has been unprecedented in the West Indies Cricket Board...There was no indication from Barbados or Guyana that they would have not attended the meeting...I think all the directors were very surprised by what took place and also very disappointed."
Bassarath hopes the elections can be successfully held in two weeks with the GCB and the BCA present.
"I do hope that they are going to put their differences behind them and let us come together and vote for the benefit of West Indies cricket."
Bassarath reiterated that the TTCB will support Skerritt and Dr Shallow.
"We have made a decision and we are sticking to the decision that we made some time ago – that our support is for Ricky Skerritt as president and Kishore Shallow for vice-president."
Bassarath hopes the election drama does not affect the West Indies in the second and final Test against Sri Lanka, which bowls off at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, on Monday.
Former West Indies Cricket Board (now CWI) CEO Bruce Aanensen was not pleased after hearing what had unfolded. "For these guys to launch a challenge to him and then no show to me it shows a total and absolute disrespect for the process of how things are done, the democratic process."
Aanensen, who was not aware of a situation like this happening before in WI cricket, said, "Elections are constitutionally due...you win or you lose. It's all about West Indies cricket, it is not about individuals. I am really shocked and disturbed to know that they could show such a blatant disrespect for the democratic process. It is crazy."
Former director of the WICB Baldath Mahabir said, "My initial reaction is nothing should come before West Indies cricket. I will never condone not turning up especially if you are adversaries in a particular battle because when you go into an electoral battle is either you win or lose."
Mahabir said the situation brings West Indies cricket into "organisational disrepute." Responding to the CWI statement that attempts to reach the GCB and the BCA were unsuccessful, Mahabir said, "That could be situational. I want to give them (BCA/GCB) the benefit of the doubt. I don't want to think it is something that is a prearranged strategy. I don't want to put it down to that."
Mahabir was glad a new date was set and hopes the BCA and the GCB are not up to mischief. "Let's say that after so many years you are allowed one mistake and the mistake happened today."