KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Friday October 31, 2014, CMC – The feuding parties in the ongoing West Indies cricket dispute will meet in Trinidad on Friday, in another effort to resolve the bitter impasse.
West Indies players walked off the recent one-day tour of India in protest over the terms and conditions of their new contracts, sparking a messy row with their union, the West Indies Players Association, and the West Indies Cricket Board.
Hans King, press secretary to St Vincent’s Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, said in a statement on Thursday that the meeting was agreed upon through the facilitation of Gonsalves, WICB president, Dave Cameron and Dwayne Bravo, spokesman for the aggrieved West Indies players.
“Both sides in this dispute will be accompanied by their respective members/advisers,” King said.
He said the meeting was agreed on Thursday and efforts were being made to secure the attendance of WIPA president and chief executive, Wavell Hinds.
“The Prime Minister has been unable to contact Mr. Hinds although he was informed of the scheduled meeting through a text message from Mr. Bravo,” King said.
Gonsalves, however, will be unavailable because of a prior commitment.
“Prime Minister Gonsalves will be available for consultation by way of the telephone,” King explained.
“His prior engagement at a meeting of the Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), of which he is currently the chairman, on the very 31st October 2014, makes his attendance at the meeting in Port of Spain highly improbable.”
On the agenda for the Trinidad meeting will be the resolution of the impasse and the non-discrimination and non-victimisation of the players involved in the abandoned tour, by the WICB.
Media reports this week indicated that the players who were involved in the walkout of the India tour – for the exception of Marlon Samuels – would be overlooked when selecting the squad for the upcoming tour to South Africa.
“It is to be emphasised that Mr. Bravo and his colleagues are reaffirming their availability for selection for the Test, One Day, and T20 teams for the upcoming West Indies Tour of South Africa,” King said.
“The Prime Minister has been advised that the WICB is aware of their availability for selection in the various formats for the respective players.
“It is to be noted, too, that as at 7:55 p.m. last night, October 29th, 2014, Mr. Cameron of the WICB affirmed, upon a query from the Prime Minister, that he was unaware of the selection, thus far, of any team for the South Africa tour.”
King continued: “The Prime Minister has been informed by Mr. Bravo that he and his colleagues are seeking the possible intervention of the International Cricket Council in the current impasse. The Prime Minister was shown a draft letter to the ICC which was sent last night.”
He said that at the invitation of Gonsalves, Bravo met with the Prime Minister in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Wednesday evening and also on Thursday.
“The Prime Minister wrote Mr. Cameron on the subject of the impasse on October 23rd, 2014, and has had four telephone conversations with him since then,” King said.
“The Prime Minister is urging the disputants to put the interest of West Indies at the core of their deliberations, having due regard to all the relevant considerations and circumstances.”
At the centre of the impasse is the contentious Collective Barganing Agreement, which WIPA recently signed with the WICB.
West Indies players on the recent tour of India contended the agreement would result in a drastic reduction of their earnings and called for a return to the terms and conditions of the old CBA – a suggestion dismissed by both Hinds and Cameron.
In protest, the players quit the tour following the fourth one-dayer in Dharamsala, with a fifth ODI and a one-off Twenty20 remaining. Their move also scuppered the three-Test series.
A furious Indian Cricket Board promptly announced a suspension of future bilateral tours with West Indies and said it would sue the WICB for losses incurred.