WICB & WIPA need new MOU - Cameron

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad - The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is hoping a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will help foster a better relationship between the Board and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA).

WICB vice president Dave Cameron said yesterday that a new MOU is needed for both parties to find some middle ground that will allow more dialogue and agreement between the two major stakeholders of regional cricket.

Cameron's comments came yesterday at the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board's National Symposium on Cricket at Preysal High School in Preysal, Couva.

In front of a gathering that stood at 166 cricket lovers half hour after it started--including members of the public, administrators, coaches, umpires and other prominent faces in local cricket--WIPA president and CEO Dinanath Ramnarine sat next to Cameron.

The other presenters were C TV journalist Vidya Ramphal, former T&T and West Indies manager Omar Khan, and T&TCB 1st vice president Dudnath Ramkessoon. The event was moderated by I95.5's Andre Baptiste.

The discussions between opposing representatives of West Indies cricket, Ramnarine and Cameron, as well as the questions by the crowd were quite frank. Still, the pair agreed on very little, indicative of the strained relations between the two organisations dating back to 1997.

Ramnarine blasted the WICB, saying he was "disappointed" with the Board's responses, especially after the parties signed an agreement in New York late last year that officially ended the senior players' boycott of the Digicel Home Series against Bangladesh in July 2009.

"I really thought that something was going to happen [after that agreement]," Ramnarine said, "and that we were going to go in a particular direction. I really thought that we were going to improve our relationship."

The former West Indies Test spinner also complained that players found it difficult to prepare for international series with just one round of first class cricket per year, usually just six matches.

But Cameron countered that the WICB is strapped for cash, with dwindling crowds and "less and less" international fixtures each year. He said it was difficult to host two rounds of first class cricket, in front of small crowds, at a cost of US$ 3 million each year. He did indicate, however, that with the High Performance Centre (HPC) in Barbados, the hiring of coach Ottis Gibson and several other initiatives, the WICB is working on addressing some of the major issues affecting Caribbean cricket.

Ramnarine then pointed out that the WICB had lost $2 million in hosting the regional Twenty20 in July. But Cameron said the decision to air the event on ESPN was to try and expand the fan base of the regional game beyond the six million regional population.

Still, Ramnarine and Cameron did agree that an improved relationship between the parties was key in attempts to improve the fortunes of regional cricket.

Ramphal spoke about the media's role in making an unbiased assessment of issues relating to regional cricket, while Ramkeesoon shared developments in regional cricket and fielded questions on a number of related issues.

Khan shared his take on what the requirements and obligations are for corporate sponsorship, and how the WICB can maximise the effects and resources of sponsorship.

First published in the Trinidad Express