Skerritt remains unhappy despite retraction
Guyana Chronicle
September 25, 2002

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, (CMC) - West Indies team manager Ricky Skerritt is not satisfied that a newspaper retraction of a story linking him to prostitutes reverses the damage already done.

Skerritt told CMC yesterday, the Daily Mirror “withdrew its article today as a result of my solicitor’s request”, but he remained unhappy over the issue.

“Unfortunately that doesn’t undo the potential damage to my reputation and the sort of (negative) attention that it brought to the team,” Skerritt said.

“It is a very sad situation and it’s a reflection of how desperate certain sections of the media have become,” he added.

Skerritt had his lawyers respond Monday to a newspaper story that police reported three prostitutes in his own room and that of team scorer and analyst Garfield Smith at the team's Taj Sumudra Hotel this week.

In a letter to the sports editor of the Daily Mirror newspaper that carried the report, Skerritt's attorneys, Simon and Associates, said the article "contains absolute falsehoods and innuendoes made deliberately with the intention of causing damage to out client's good name and reputation.

The insinuation that three prostitutes were found in the rooms of our client and his colleague, Garfield Smith, is false, mischievous and malicious”.

Skerritt said the issue could end here since the newspaper -- by retracting the story -- has now cleared itself, by Sri Lanka’s law, of legal action against it.

Skerritt repeated points made by his lawyers that suggested forces were deliberately trying to undermine and embarrass him and the West Indies unit.

The lawyers’ letter said: "Our client has reason to believe that the relevant portion of the article in question has been deliberately planted by interested parties to sully the good name of our client and the West Indian cricket team.

"Our client, since his arrival in Sri Lanka, has repeatedly complained to the International Cricket Council's security officials about the behaviour and attitude of certain security personnel, assigned to the team hotel," it added.

The security officials had, the letter charged, been "high-handed, authoritative and officious in acting well beyond their scope of duty".

The letter continued: "Our client has also had to admonish certain media personnel who were attempting to vilify certain members of the West Indian team and invade their privacy.

"It is in this background that the above article has been caused to be published in your newspaper,” the attorneys’ letter stated.

In the meantime, the West Indies players continued yesterday to train for the forthcoming tour of India next month.

Pacers Corey Collymore and Vasbert Drakes, Champions Trophy squad members not selected for the Test series against India, were leaving Colombo today, while six new players are joining the squad over the next two days for the India trip -- batsmen Daren Ganga, Marlon Samuels and all-rounder Gareth Breese, and fast bowlers Cameron Cuffy, Darren Powell and Jermaine Lawson.