No club for the boys

Orin Davidson's Eye on Sports
Stabroek News
June 17, 2001

West Indian cricket lovers have been embarrassed many times over by the regional team's performance in recent years.

Our administrators though, are beginning to cause us even more shame, enough to drive many to anger.

The West Indies Cricket Board's alarming number of blunders in recent times have ranged from the ridiculous to the hilarious.

From bad team selections to overage players being picked for a youth competition to the non arrival of team kit on competition day, West Indian fans have endured blunders of almost every kind.

But the latest revelation of the loss of 3 million US dollars in a failed investment is a blunder of a different nature which could have even deeper repercussions than all others before it.

Chief Financial Officer Richard Jodhan is said to have taken upon himself to invest the huge sum in the New York company shortly before stock market collapse, ruining the invest and incurring a huge loss.

This catastrophe occurred several months ago and only came to light because of the sudden fallout between former President Pat Rousseau and the board directors following which the latter decided to spill the beans.

Like all the other debacles before it, this latest was well hidden from the public and were it not for circumstances, it is doubtful any would have come to light.

This all paints a sordid picture of the state of affairs of the WICB and indeed a cloudy future for our cricket as it is the administrators we have to rely on to lead from the top.

Most galling was Rousseau's revelation of Jodhan's unauthorized act in collusion with board secretary Andrew Sealey to invest the princely sum.

This indicates an extremely haphazard administration where it seems everyone feels entitled to do his own thing and where just about anything goes. The complaint by the WICB directors of Rousseau and former vice president Clarvis Joseph operating dictatorially, which led to their eventual resignations, is the first example.

An investigation committee set up by the board took almost three months to conclude that Jodhan had no permission from the WICB to invest the money but at the same time ruled that no evidence was unearthed to prove dishonesty on the part of anyone involved in the flawed investment.

This was revealed after Rousseau argued that Jodhan was not fit to be part of the management committee appointed to head the affairs of the WICB until the July elections for new president and vice president.

An WICB press release issued on Friday vehemently defended its action to appoint Jodhan, claiming that investigators did not find him dishonest, revealing another example of the abject standards of administration our cricketers and fans have had to put up with.

Even if Jodhan was not proved dishonest, he surely is of the calibre necessary to run any organisation from the top, especially only days after wasting millions in a venture he was not authorised to undertake.

Rousseau is quite right in objecting to Jodhan's presence in the committee especially after the latter is said to have verbally resigned at that tumultuous June 1-2 meeting.

One can now understand what the former president means when he talks of sentiment and insularity influencing the thinking of almost all within the executive.

Rousseau did not have to spell it out, but one can appreciate now, why the West Indies team manager was re-instated by those directors even though he had been sacked for performing poorly in his short tenure.

Moreso we can understand that Rousseau's restructuring of the WICB's administration to a corporate like entity, was meant to eliminate much of that flawed thinking and weed out the blunders, from the administration of West Indies cricket.

He may not have been the perfect president but his intention was obvious. The speedy development of West Indies cricket was his goal.

One can only hope that the new president follows the same path and execute the board's business in a professional manner without having to overcome unnecessary hurdles.

The time has long passed for the WICB to cease being a club for the boys.