WIPA Could Disrupt Carib Beer Playoffs
March 27, 2003
The organization representing West Indian cricketers is so upset with the state of outstanding negotiations with the West Indies Cricket Board that they can protest as soon as this week-end's Carib Beer semi-final matches.
Sources here say President of the West Indies Players' Association Dinanath Ramnarine has been in touch with Courtney Browne and the other members of the Barbados team.
The Trinidad and Tobago team, which is scheduled to leave Port of Spain Wednesday for tomorrow's game here, has also been briefed on the matter.
It is not clear the level of mobilization of the other players who will feature in the Guyana-Jamaica game in Georgetown.
Head of the West Indies Players' Association Dinanath Ramnarine said he is dissatisfied with the progress of negotiations with the West Indies Cricket Board.
According to Ramnarine, WIPA and the WICB have been discussing compensation for players injured on tour and increased fees for players in the regional first-class competition since May of last year, but that progress has been too slow for their liking.
There is expected to be a flurry of discussions Wednesday what form the likely protest this weekend should take.
One of the top options is for the players not to wear t-shirts carrying the logo of the tournament sponsors Carib.
The players are not paid to wear the shirts during the tournament.
The Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board is so concerned about the state of affairs that they have selected an alternative team to represent the country should the current one pull out at the last moment - an option that has not been ruled out, according to team sources.
"Obviously, people are disappointed, they want to play the cricket," Ramnarine said. "Nobody likes to be in conflict. But we have been discussing these issues with the WICB for almost a year and yet it can't be resolved. The question is what must we do?"
The WIPA head said that, at present, players who have to leave a tour because of injury are not paid for the entire tour, while fees for regional players have remained the same, "for more than 12 years".
Ramnarine added: "The only time the WICB is going to act is when we take some form of action."
"We are looking at several ways without hurting anybody," he said.
Our source said the players are likely to participate in the semi-final matches on the weekend however, but there "will definitely be some kind of protest unless something gives dramatically in the next 48 hours."
"This new WIPA executive has been very pro-active in our approach and the WICB waits on the last minute to discuss these very critical and important issues," Ramnarine complained.
"And it is the player's right to say whether they are happy with what the employers are offering or not... The only time the WICB is going to act is when we take some form of action."
"I'm not ruling out anything...I'm liaising with the other executive members," Ramnarine said. "The players have gotten in contact with me, letting me know how they feel. And the executive will be meeting sometime later to discuss the issue."
WIPA and West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) representatives are scheduled to meet soon on a number of outstanding issues.
Chief among them are negotiations for the upcoming home Test and one-day international series against Australia which begin in less than three weeks.
Last January, the World Cup-bound West Indies team pulled out of a media engagement to protest their unhappiness over their share of a sponsorship deal signed by the WICB with the LNM Group of Companies.
At the meeting between the players and the board that followed, some of the disputed issues were again raised, including first-class fees and compensation for players injured during the period 1999-2003. (Caribbeancricket.com)