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Addressing an audience that included President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Max Richards; Minister of Sport Roger Boynes; WICB president, Rev. Wesley Hall; members of the West Indies and Australia cricket teams here for the Second Cable and Wireless Test Match; and distinguished cricket journalist and master of ceremonies Tony Cozier, at WIPA’s first charity fund-raising dinner at Hilton Trinidad, Ramnarine made an impassioned plea for all entities involved to cooperate.
“The fact that Mr Hall, as president of the West Indies Cricket Board, is here tonight with us proves a point that the Players Association has been emphasising,” Ramnarine stated. “We do not see ourselves in opposition to the Board. We do not see ourselves as adversaries to the Board. We do not want any confrontation with the Board. We are all on the same side ... we all agree that unless players have the terms, conditions and environment in which they can become the best they can be, and achieve their fullest potential, West Indies cricket will not attain, and sustain, its place at the top of world cricket.”
Ramnarine added there was a need for “communication instead of confrontation” and “support and synergy” and an “environment of respect and trust and a climate of goodwill” between the WICB and the WIPA and all stakeholders.
But he urged that all those traits need to be earned.
“They all require transparency as a basic pre-condition. They require sacrifices from all the parties involved,” said Ramnarine. “At the same time, to reach to the top both personally and professionally, we the players know that we must demonstrate responsibility, we must have loyalty, we must display our commitment to our personal success and to the success of West Indies cricket.”
The West Indies leg-spinner said the Board and WIPA must forge a new relationship that will help to pursue four clear goals that are vital to the “strategy for the future”.
The first is to pursue initiatives that will ultimately benefit the membership of WIPA. Those include better terms and conditions for the players and greater respect for their role in the advancement of West Indies cricket.
Secondly, the increase in the supply of advice, services and assistance to WIPA members, with Ramnarine adding that a number of top professionals and business leaders from the entire Caribbean have already volunteered their services to WIPA.
The third major goal is to promote the sport of cricket using the experience and advice of past cricketers.
And utlimately, according to Ramnarine, the fourth objective should be to promote a positive, constructive, collaborative relationship with the WICB and with the cricketing public in all the countries of the Caribbean.
Emphasising that one of the most important starting points is that WIPA represent all present and future national and international West Indies players, Ramnarine said: “It is one thing that should never be in doubt or disputed. In fact, this should be the basis for collaboration and cooperation in the future. It should never be a stumbling block in our relationship with the Board. Instead, it should be a building block and the foundation for a new and improved relationship between the Board and the players.”
Ramnarine ended on a positive note about the future of West Indies cricket, explaining that the West Indies are down but not out.
“What it means is that West Indies cricket might be down but it is ‘not out’. And as sure as Chanderpaul scored the third fastest-ever Test century and Sir Viv Richards scored the fastest; as sure as Brian Lara still holds the World batting records for both Test and First Class Cricket; as sure as Ridley Jacobs could fight pain and hit a six out of the ground to remain not out in the first innings of the first Test of this series; as sure as Wavell demonstrates his commitment and does whatever is asked of him and more; as sure as Sir Garfield Sobers is the greatest all-rounder in the history of Test Cricket; as sure as WIPA is dedicated to the uplift of West Indies cricket; and, as sure as the sun that sets in the evening will rise once more in all its glory over the Caribbean Sea and all the peoples of our region, West Indies cricket, our game, will rise again,” he concluded. (Trinidad Express).