The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) continues to lose legal matters to the West Indies Players Association, with the news now that they have lost their 15th arbitration to the WIPA. Interim WIPA CEO, Michael Hall, in a press conference at WIPA’s headquarters in Port-of-Spain yesterday revealed that the WICB had lost their matter concerning accusations made against Guyana and West Indies player Narsingh Deonarine concerning his attitude to fitness and who has now been awarded TT$500,000 by the arbitrator.
According to Hall, arbitrator Seenath Jairam SC handed down judgment in favour of Deonarine in accordance with the dispute resolution process contained in Article XI of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Deonarine was offered a retainer contract by the WICB for the contract period October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010 and accepted the offer. He was given a letter by the WICB CEO, Ernest Hilaire, dated January 11, 2010 which made statements based on the report from the Australia tour. According to the letter: “The WICB had concerns about your attitude to fitness and physical preparation.”
The letter further claimed to not want to “highlight specific incidents.” Hall explained: “At no time in the 30 months between the WICB’s letter of January 11, 2010 and the ruling of the arbitrator on August 2, 2012 did the WICB either offer these reports as evidence at the hearing, or produce them for the benefit of Narsingh to see precisely what had been said about him in them. We are left to only speculate about their existence. “There are disturbing similarities in this case to the arbitrations involving Lendl Simmons and Ramnaresh Sarwan, as even a cursory glance at those rulings will show.” In all three cases, the WICB, by its wilful actions were ruled to have done the following:
I. Breached the principles of natural justice;
II. Breached the integrity of the selection process by not being fair and transparent;
III. Publicly denigrated a player;
IV. Failed to carry out performance appraisals.
Hall continued: “These wilful breaches were committed by the WICB, even with the players having the protection of the CBA and MOU afforded to them. WIPA cringes at the thought of what might have been done to the players had no such agreements been in place.” Hall ended by saying that the regional media must not be fooled by Hilaire’s attempt to shift the blame for the breaches of the agreements onto the agreements themselves, or as he has recently done, by making reference to ‘flawed judgements’ by the arbitrator. “The truth is that he has cost the WICB, and by extension West Indies cricket, millions of dollars in scarce resources.