‘I made the right decision’

says Chetram Singh

Stabroek News

July 19, 2003

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KNOCKED OUT in his bid for the presidency of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Chetram Singh came back punching yesterday.

The head of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) and WICB member for the past 12 years asserted that the WICB was now stronger financially and the West Indies team more competitive than for some time.

And he rejected the popular notion that the WICB was a closed shop. Singh withdrew as the sole candidate to replace outgoing president Rev. Wes Hall at the WICB’s annual general meeting in Dominica over the weekend.

It followed pressure over an International Cricket Council (ICC) stipulation that would have disqualified him from attending its meetings because of his ownership of a bookmakers’ business in Georgetown.

“At the end of the day, I still think I made the right decision,” he said in an interview on BBC Radio’s Caribbean Report.

Singh painted a rosy picture of an organisation that was in financial straits and a team that was in turmoil when Hall assumed the presidency two years ago.

“Over the past two years, we have made progress both financially and on the field,” he said.

“We’ve moved from a situation where we lost US$7 million in 2001 to cut it down to US$2.9 million in 2002 and, for 2003, we should show a profit of close to US$2 million,” he revealed.

“On the field, after being badly beaten (in the first three Tests), we won an historic victory over Australia by scoring 418 runs and we also did well against Sri Lanka, winning the series,” he added. “There are a lot of youngsters in the Caribbean who are showing progress at the moment.”

He dismissed a charge by Willie Rodriguez, the former Trinidad and Tobago captain and West Indies all-rounder, who was the only other nominee prior to his withdrawal, that the presidential election was not transparent.

“I really don’t think that is so,” Singh said. “There are six territories in the Caribbean who are free to nominate who they want.

“Nominations had to go in 30 days before the election, so it’s not something that happened overnight,” he added. “They had a month to do it, so they can’t say it’s a closed shop situation.”

He pointed out that the same process would be followed for the new election. A date would be set, nominations would again be opened and “the six boards would be free to nominate and second who they want”.

In the meantime, he said, there was an executive body, temporarily headed by vice-president Val Banks, in place to run West Indies cricket. (Barbados Nation)