The Ramphal Report
The following report by Caricom – appointed mediator Sir Shridath Ramphal was sent to President Bharrat Jagdeo to explain the end of the mediation between WICB and WIPA:
Here is the full text of that report -
“After more than a month of strenuous effort I must regretfully report that the Mediation Process authorized by the Agreement of 21 July between the West Indies Cricket Board and the West Indies Players Association has failed to produce agreement between the Parties on the way forward for West Indies cricket.
Twenty-four hours before the Mediation Process ended I believed there was such an agreement save on one issue which, with the agreement of both parties, I was seeking to have resolved by third party cooperation, which seemed likely — a probability which I conveyed to both Parties. I am forwarding you the text of that Agreement which I hoped would have been signed.
Overnight, as those efforts were unfolding, the Board produced an alternative document which differed in significant respects from the evolved text and was not acceptable to WIPA. It was the only text the Board was willing to sign. I send you this alternative text also which it was proposed should be kept ‘secret’ while a protracted arbitration process on fourteen issues was pursued. The texts speak for themselves.
Under the Rules of Procedure the proceedings of the Mediation Process are confidential to the Parties. Within those constraints, it is however, my duty to you as Chairman of CARICOM and to the West Indian Community who looked so hopefully to this Process to make some general observations.
The mandate of mediation from the Georgetown Agreement of 21 July 2009 evoked thoughts ‘beyond the boundary’. Every national sport contributes to nation-building; but, for the West Indies, cricket is a vitally important aspect of our regionalism. Cricket is in our regional genes; in villages, in cities and in the world-wide Diaspora. It integrates us; it defines us; it proclaims our oneness. Damage to West Indies cricket damages West Indians. The mandate of mediation from the Georgetown Agreement was compelling.
The current dispute between the authorities and the players which that agreement addressed is not unique in international cricket. What would be unique is our inability to rescue West Indian cricket from the storm.
That failure would be a failure mainly of the Cricket Board and the Players Association; but it would be a failure also of our entire society that allowed this regional elixir to be taken from us. Moreover, since cricket is so strong an integrative force in our region, there is a responsibility on all West Indians beyond players and administrators – West Indian people, West Indian Governments – to prevent this damage to our larger regional reality.
Sentences from Charlie Griffith’s Chucked Around remind us that this responsibility is now new.
Praising Frank Worrell’s leadership in the 1963 tour of England, Griffith recalled: “We were told to realize that we did not represent ourselves but three million West Indians at home and abroad.
The West Indies Federation had just collapsed and there was a spirit of nationalism and separatism developing in the islands.
We realized that cricket, of all the other institutions in the West Indies, was the one unifying force in the area which really touched the souls of our people”. Nothing has changed.
That the Players Association sought the ‘good offices’ of the Chairman of CARICOM and that the Board sought ‘mediation’ is recognition enough that both sides want this impasse to end, and acknowledge that they need help in ending it.
That both sides accepted from the start of the process that the relations between them must be one of ‘partnership’ is not negligible; however much the reality falls short of the idea.
The Georgetown Agreement was a moment of opportunity; but it was hobbled when later there was no meeting of minds on selecting the ‘players’ once they had become ‘available’; still more so when they failed to be selected for the Champions Trophy in South Africa . All that handicapped the ‘mediation’ – but did not halt it.
The Mediation Process itself was stormy without being tempestuous and frank without being rancorous. I thank the Facilitators (Mr. Pinard for WIBC and Mr. Ramnarine for WIPA) and their colleagues for their contributions to all that was positive.
I thank, too, the CARICOM Secretariat whose officers assisted the process greatly. Beyond process, I acknowledge the value of the ‘Patterson’ Report.
Whatever disagreements may exist about particular recommendations, it provides an excellent and authoritative basis for the stakeholders in West Indian cricket to cogitate on the troublous present, to dissuade us from past mistakes and to point a way forward which is upward not downward.
The processes that were almost agreed in the Mediation are capable of returning West Indian cricket to normalcy if they were to be pursued in good faith and with a genuine spirit of partnership, reconciliation and fairness.
They did not address structural problems in the governance of cricket and the organization of players. These matters were not within the strict mandate of the mediation; but they loomed large in any efforts to mediate critical current issues.
Failure to address them probably proved fatal to our best efforts. I cannot submit this Report without pointing to the need for that structural change in West Indies Cricket as a whole. In WICB, in WIPA, at the Regional and at the Territorial level.
Little of this will be contested; the question is whether structural deficiencies will themselves stand in the way of their own removal – whether the status quo will not itself obstruct change. If so, the present crisis will defy reconciliation, and new crises will arise.
That may point to a role for Governments; a circumspect role, of course, for no one wants Governments to ‘interfere in sport’.
If structural self-improvement does not take place, however, and the failure of this Mediation Process implies that it will not, Governments should facilitate the necessary change through, for example, the organization of the Caricom Secretariat, of an early meeting by all stakeholders in West Indian cricket to contribute to its rescue.
The Mediation Process promised to bring closure to the present crisis – admittedly, by processes that would unfold over coming months. Immediately, a measure of normalcy would have returned to West Indian cricket.
Our best players would again play for the West Indies. Time would be needed to heal the larger wounds; and the healing process would have to be helped by restraint on all sides – in what is done, in what is said.
Adjudication, negotiation, arbitration can achieve much in making a reality of ‘partnership’; but, that reality must reside in the hearts and minds of administrators and of players, who are the partners. In the end, alas, willingness to embrace change proved too tenuous to enable reconciliation. Yet, it is change alone that will now save West Indian cricket.
I am sending this Report to you as Chairman of CARICOM, and to the Secretary General. These are my thoughts at the end of the Mediation. Neither of the Parties bears any responsibility for them,
1 September, 2009
Editor’s note, We have decided to carry the full text of both reports so our readers can digest and form their own conclusions on these worrisome negotiations.