During the current trial between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) before Justice Ricky Rahim in Trinidad, the players’ body raised a potentially serious legal issue.
WIPA claimed that the WICB had diverted and withheld payments from the players meant to go to their pension or “provident” fund and withheld its own contribution to the fund, using the money to cover the board’s ongoing expenditure.
Former corporate secretary of the West Indies Cricket Board Anthony Deyal confirmed this during the trial. Deyal also admitted it had possible serious criminal consequences.
It is understood that WIPA plans to report this matter to the fraud squad. Meanwhile, the West Indies Cricket Association (WIPA) will bid to make it 16 for and none against when Justice Rahim delivers his judgment on the fate of the present collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between WIPA and the WICB on February 13.
In a matter which started before Justice Rahim in the T&T High Court on October 15, WIPA argued that it was always accepted that agreements could be changed only by the mutual consent of the two parties.
WIPA quoted from the minutes of the initial meeting with the WICB in April 2003, when the WICB’s president at the time, Wesley Hall, indicated that he wanted a relationship founded on sound industrial-relations principles which no subsequent board could unilaterally terminate.
Hall subsequently reiterated this position in an address to the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) on September 29, 2012.
The WICB argued that such an agreement did not make sound business sense and that there were no contracts in perpetuity.
The main WIPA witness, former president and CEO Dinanath Ramnarine, supported WIPA’s contention that the WICB always represented to WIPA that the agreement would not be unilaterally terminated because of the plain and literal meaning of the agreements, and that in the event of a dispute arising out or in relation to the agreements, the dispute-resolution mechanism was capable of handling any dispute that arose between the parties.
This process was used in the Clause 5 matter. Clause 5 which was framed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Federation of International Cricket Associations (FICA) refers to the intellectual properties and image rights of the players.
The process was also used in several other matters including most recently the Ramnaresh Sarwan, Narinsingh Deonarine and Lendl Simmons issues. The WICB on those occasions were found guilty of breaching the contract and failure to adhere to the appraisal process and acted on making wrongful disciplinary allegations and not giving the players a chance to be heard.
The process was used to show that the dealings of the board was not fair and transparent and was a breach of natural justice.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that the main WICB witness, CFO Barry Thomas, was withdrawn and Dr Ernest Hilaire—who was not involved in the WICB until 2009, six years after the discussions started and four years after the agreement came into effect—was the solitary witness on behalf of the WICB.
Much of Hilaire’s testimony was dependent on the statement of Thomas, who did not make himself available for cross-examination.