Singh won't be able to represent WICB at ICC
By Tony Cozier
Stabroek News
July 9, 2003

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THE West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is set to elect a new president whose connections with gambling would debar him from representing it on the executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Chetram Singh, head of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) who yesterday became the sole nominee for the position to be vacated by Rev.Wes Hall at the WICB's annual general meeting in Roseau, Dominica, on Saturday and Sunday, is proprietor of the Georgetown bookmaking operation, Goodwood Racing Services.

Brendan McClements, the general manager of corporate affairs, told THE NATION by telephone from his office in London yesterday that the ICC's code of ethics specifically states that no director "shall be engaged or involved in, directly or indirectly, any conduct analogous to...gambling or any other form of financial speculation."

Singh's operation is legally registered in Guyana and takes bets solely on horse and dog racing, mainly in Britain and Ireland. It has notbeen an impediment to his repeated elections as GCB president - or to a seat on the WICB over the past 11 years.

But McClements noted that the ICC's stipulation covers "gambling in all its forms". He explained that the WICB would still be able to place other qualified representatives on the executive.

Hall, 65, the fiery fast bowler of the 1960s and later selector and team manager, is quitting the post for health reasons.

He has been an ICC director during his two years as president. Stephen Alleyne, president of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), has served on the directorate and accompanied Hall to the ICC's annual general meeting in London in month.

In ratifying Singh, either the WICB's executive members (Hall, vice-president Val Banks and three directors) appear comfortable with the arrangement by which alternatives to the president would be sent to ICC meetings.

Efforts to contact Hall and Singh for comments on the issue yesterday proved futile. Singh's office said he was out of Guyana on business.

The BCA was expected to rubber-stamp its support for Singh at a meeting last night.

The ICC regulations on gambling were tightened following the match-fixing scandals that led to the life bans of Test captains Mohammed Azharuddin of India, Hansie Cronje of South Africa and Salim Malik of Pakistan and the expensive establishment of the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) in 2000.

Singh's election became a virtual certainty yesterday with the withdrawal of the only other candidate, Willie Rodriguez, the former Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies all-rounder who was put forward by the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA).

The Trinidad Guardian quoted an unidentified source "close to Rodriguez" as stating that, even if he was to gain last-minute support and win the majority of the 14 votes, he was not guaranteed support from the current executive members.

"These people met in a closed shop session to support Singh," was its quote attributed to the source. "So Rodriguez would be seen as an intruder..."

It added: "It makes little sense for Rodriguez to become president and find that he has no support in the WICB."

According to Alloy Lequay, head of the Trinidad and Tobago board, Singh was presented to the WICB's six affiliated boards as the executive's preferred choice by the five-member executive.

At the same time, incumbent vice-president Val Banks of Anguilla was endorsed for re-election.

When Rodriguez, a retired insurance executive, was belatedly presented, Lequay said his board had already committed to Singh and would not change.

Lennox John, long-serving president of the Windward Islands board, has been put forward for the vice-presidency.

He has made it plain that his goal is to ensure that the Windwards gained a stronger voice in West Indies cricket.