'I feel betrayed' Says Rev. Wes Hall
Stabroek News
March 29, 2003

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC - West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) President Rev Wes Hall says he feels betrayed by the players behind a stand-off yesterday that prevented the start of the Carib Beer International Shield semi-finals in Barbados and Guyana.

Several players from all four teams refused to start their Shield semi-final games - Barbados against Trinidad and Tobago at Kensington Oval in Barbados and Guyana versus Jamaica in Guyana - amidst a West Indies Players Association (WIPA) dispute with the WICB over playing fees.

Reverend Hall, often labelled a "player friendly" president, told CMC he feels betrayed by the players' action.

"Absolutely, I am not going to hide that I feel so," Rev Hall said on CMC's CricketPlus broadcast highlighting the impasse.

Players from Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados reported to Kensington Oval for their game but did not take to the field, while in Guyana, the home side and the Jamaicans stayed away from Albion until lunch time, when the Guyanese arrived at the ground for lunch.

Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) President Stephen Alleyne was engaged in a meeting most of the morning trying to encourage the Barbadians to honour their commitment to play.

Sources suggested that some players were willing to play but others were not.

In the meantime, Rev Hall chided WIPA for what he described as "ambush" negotiations after its president walked out of a negotiation meeting on Thursday when the WICB questioned the legitimacy of WIPA representing all regional players.

"Over the years WIPA has only been negotiating for test and the one-day squad. We've never had a position where domestic players were negotiated for," said Rev Hall, who said he supported WIPA representing all players, but the body was yet to bring proof that it represents all players.

"They walked out and said the games are off. None of the boards said the games were off but Mr Ramnarine (the WIPA spokesman) has said they're off and it looks like he is more powerful than the boards," Rev Hall said.

The WICB boss suggested that an increase of 20 per cent for non-international players and 10 per cent for internationals was decided on when Carib Beer sponsorship was acquired for the series.

He outlined the WICB's budgetary constraints, saying the areas of gate receipts, sponsorship and television rights were not at a level to fully sustain significant increases in pay for the players in regional cricket.

Rev Hall and the WICB's Acting CEO were expected to meet WIPA executives at Kensington Oval this afternoon in a renewed effort to settle the impasse.

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