CRICKET West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt remains hopeful that the region’s territorial boards will approve some of the recommendations presented in the Wehby Report on Governance Reform at the upcoming AGM in March.
He said the implementation of the suggestions presented in July 2020 report by a six-member group, comprising of professionals in business, academics, law, politics and professional cricket, can only come to fruition if the territorial boards vote in agreement to have them approved.
The Wehby Report, which was commissioned by the CWI after the Skerritt administration came to office in April 2019, is a governance review of CWI’s operations. It is the fifth management review presented to the regional institution in seventeen years and aims to bring reform to the regional body, particularly at the board level.
Speaking during Thursday’s virtual press conference alongside Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court judge Justice Patrick Thompson Jr, Skerritt said CWI governance reform lies within the hands of the Caribbean’s respective cricket administrations.
The report was prepared by an independent task force led by Senator Don Wehby, which also included Sir Hilary Beckles, former WI cricketer Deryck Murray, O.K Melhado and Charles Wilkin QC.
The task force consulted extensively, and the 36-page report drew from a wide cross section of expertise – from knowledgeable persons in the WI as well as in the global game.
Skerritt said much work was done, during his tenure, “merge” and “adjust” some of the recommendations to initiate much-needed reform at CWI. However, the support from each territorial board remains critical for implementing such recommendations.
“It is my intention to bring a number of, what I would call, lower hanging fruits within the Wehby Report, to that AGM (March) for approval. We’ve done a fair amount of work.
“We had a special committee internally done to review the Wehby Report to see where we could get positive feedback from the territorial boards. It’s really up to the territorial boards, because they’re the ones voting.
“If they do not vote in the majority for the resolutions that come out of the Wehby Report then no changes will happen. But we are confident that we have been able to merge some oof them, adjust some of them, will ultimately get the same outcomes.”
“I’m very positive but not unrealistic of the politics involved. And I’m hoping that by the end of March we should get some significant recommendations passed at the AGM.”
At that AGM, a new CWI president and administration will be appointed.
Skerritt added that his executive recently signed off on over two doezen recommendations, which were presented by PKF (formerly Pannell Kerr Foster) to bring about reform through CWI’s financial systems.
He continued, “Governance reform began when I became president. Our first area of reform began with financial systems reform. We did a situational analysis, through a report put together by PKF, and the 28 recommendations of that report, which included some significant financial, accounting and transparency policies, have been carried out.
“These recommendations (were) all signed off just recently with the use of a monitoring consultant and completely reformed financial system, a new chief financial officer etc.”
The Wehby Report, Skerritt said, follows many other reports, some of which were a bit more researched than others.
He urged territorial bodies to understand the importance of implementing the Wehby Report’s recommendations and come together to support real governance reform for the betterment of WI cricket.
Overall, the Wehby Report said that reform was needed to ensure the sustainability of CWI. It highlighted the “need to foster the rebuilding of trust and a common purpose between CWI and the other stakeholders, especially with regional governments”.
The recommendations included a comprehensive reform of the governance structure using key principles of modern governance to provide greater accountability and transparency.
It suggested that CWI’s board of directors reflect a wide cross section of skills and competencies, and a smaller and more balanced board of 12 in the immediate instance, with an eventual reducing to nine including at least two women.
The report’s recommendations asked to redefine the roles of the president and vice-president of CWI to be more board-specific and non-executive.
Additionally, they should establish a nominations committee to identify and evaluate potential directors and to nominate future directors and committee members, in addition to, a reduction in CWI committee structure from 12 to five committees.