WICB/WIPA saga continue
WICB head accuses President Jagdeo of misinforming the public
St Lucian Politician and President of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Julian Hunt, has written Guyana’s President Bharat Jagdeo accusing the Guyanese leader and Sir Shridath Ramphal of seeking to give the impression that the WICB was the Party responsible for the unsatisfactory and premature end to the WICB/WIPA Mediation proceedings.
Hunt, in his letter which was circulated to the media yesterday, said “it is more than a little disturbing to read the comments attributed not only to Sir Shridath but also to you which seek to give the impression that the WICB was the Party responsible for the unsatisfactory and premature end to the WICB/WIPA Mediation proceedings”
Hunt told President Jagdeo that there was an urgent need for the two Presidents (WICB & Guyana) to ‘set about some urgent damage control measures having regard to the misinformation that is already in the public domain’.
The full text of the letter read:-
“Dear President Jagdeo,
As you will recall, I met with you at your invitation along with other representatives of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) in Guyana on July 21, 2009 to discuss a means of bringing to a satisfactory resolution a number of issues in dispute between WICB and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA). Based on your intervention and with the concurrence of the WIPA representatives with whom we also met on July 21, it was agreed by both parties that we would jointly invite Sir Shridath Ramphal, former Commonwealth Secretary General, to immediately commence mediation proceedings on the basis of our mutual acceptance of the importance and urgency of resolving the immediate differences between WIPA and ourselves and setting our relations on a path of lasting cooperation.
We also agreed at that meeting that each Party would appoint a Facilitator from among its membership to assist the Mediator in his interaction with the Parties and that the Caricom Secretariat would provide administrative assistance to the Mediation Team which was expected to begin its work immediately. You also kindly agreed to have Caricom standing by to assist if required.
You will also recall that it was agreed on July 21 that the players who had withdrawn their services from the West Indies Team would make themselves available for selection pending the resolution of the outstanding issues between the parties, though you concurred at the time that actual team selection was a matter for the Board’s Selection Committee.
Both parties signed on July 21 in your presence the WICB/WIPA Mediation Agreement, commonly referred to as “the Georgetown Agreement”, and we commenced mediation proceedings in Barbados with Sir Shridath on July 26, 2009. Sir Shridath presented a document to both parties entitled “WICB – WIPA Mediation Rules of Procedure” which, with minor modifications, was agreed by all.
On that same day, Sir Shridath issued a Press Release in which he informed the public that the Mediation Process had commenced, with assistance from the Caricom Secretariat, and that the Facilitators nominated by the Parties were Mr. Dinanath Ramnarine (WIPA) and Mr. Gerard Pinard (WICB). Sir Shridath also gave his assurance that the Rules of Procedure required the discussions in the mediation process to be confidential. Sir Shridath also expressed the hope that the mediation proceedings could be satisfactorily concluded by the end of August, 2009.
It is now common knowledge that the mediation process came to an end on September 01, 2009 without the Parties reaching agreement on all or indeed many of the issues in dispute.
It has since been widely reported in the media that the cause of the premature end to the mediation proceedings, which were scheduled to continue until September 04, 2009 if necessary, was the submission of a new document by the WICB during the night of August 31, 2009 and that the WICB had informed the Mediator that it was not prepared to negotiate “on any other basis”.
In fact, Sir Shridath in his Final Report to Caricom dated September 01, 2009, entitled “Caricom Cricket Mediation”, stated that the document submitted by WICB was “the only text the Board was willing to sign”.
Sir Shridath also stated in his final report that “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 advised that the articulation of the WICB’s position by Sir Shridath in his press statements and in his final report to you are factually incorrect and that there was never any adoption by the
WICB during the mediation proceedings of an unwillingness to negotiate on the proposed Mediation Agreement which it submitted on the night of August 31, 2009.
In fact, it was clearly articulated in the e-mail to Sir Shridath which accompanied the proposed draft that the document represented an attempt by the WICB Team to succinctly cover “the range of issues agreed upon by parties and those that remain unresolved” and that the team was “hopeful that with the concurrence of WIPA we shall be able to conclude the mediation process tomorrow on this basis”. Clearly, the wording speaks for itself.
It is also worthwhile noting that at the meeting on August 31, 2009 from which the WIPA Facilitator had absented himself to proceed on vacation with his family in Tobago, with the agreement of Sir Shridath (contrary to the prior stipulation by Sir Shridath that the proceedings could not and would not be held in the absence of either of the Facilitators) the WICB Team informed the Mediator of its strong disapproval of the WIPA Facilitator’s absence and its concern that WIPA was not taking the proceedings seriously enough. It is worthwhile noting that both
Parties had agreed that the proceedings would continue until September 04, 2009 if necessary and were requested to make themselves available for the entire period August 27, 2009 to September 04, 2009 for meetings in Barbados . Despite this agreement, two of the WIPA representatives, including its Facilitator, left the island on August 30 and did not attend the meeting on August 31.
The WICB Team, on the other hand, was fully represented at each and every meeting of the mediation proceedings.
In this regard, it is more than a little disturbing to read the comments attributed not only to Sir Shridath but also to you and others that seek to give the impression that the WICB was the Party responsible for the unsatisfactory and premature end to the WICB/WIPA Mediation proceedings.
It is my sincere hope that you will agree that an early meeting between us may assist in correcting the erroneous impressions that have been conveyed in order to forestall any further adverse effect on the reputation of West Indies Cricket.
At the same time, I trust that you will appreciate the urgent need for us to set about some urgent damage control measures having regard to the misinformation that is already in the public domain.
Dr. Julian R. Hunte
West Indies Cricket Board Inc.