BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Cricket West Indies president, Ricky Skerritt, says he has had to make “difficult decisions” and contend with rocky finances during his short tenure in charge of the regional organisation but insists he has no regrets so far.
The former St Kitts and Nevis Cabinet minister swept to power last March when he stunned three-time incumbent Dave Cameron in CWI elections staged in Jamaica.
“Cricket is a never ending challenge. At the moment, [it is important] to get stability in a number of areas and to put ourselves into a position where we can build, just getting better and get improvements and growth in all the key areas,” he told the Mason and Guest cricket radio show here.
“It’s going to take a while but I’m not going to complain. We’ve had to make some difficult decisions and we’re having to be careful with how we spend money until we can get a little more income flowing in.
CWI president, Ricky Skerritt.
“Apart from that I would say it’s coming together and we’re confident we’re moving in the right direction.”
One of the major drawbacks for Skerritt and vice-president Dr Kishore Shallow has been the lack of funds at their disposal.
CWI has navigated choppy financial waters over the last year and only recently Skerritt described the board’s finances as “worse than you think”.
He said in some cases, key grassroots development programmes had been impact by the poor financial situation.
“I would have enjoyed coming into a situation where we had some cash to spend and invest in some of the key areas especially in the grassroots and and youth cricket,” he pointed out.
“There are some grassroots programmes that have either slowed down or just come to a halt because we haven’t been able to pay various vendors and suppliers. That has been the most troubling thing for me right now.”
He added: “We knew the previous financial year …. was going to be a significant loss-making year. The deficit was always going to be in the region of US$20 million. To fund that gap, there were certain things which we had been told were in place – one of them was raising some from funds from the private sector in Jamaica.
“That is still going to happen but it just taking a year and a half to come to fruition and hopefully it will be happening soon.”
It emerged over the last month that CWI owed large amounts to territorial boards relating to the domestic first class championship and media reports said Skerritt had ordered a stop to spending on all “non-essential activities” until finances were reviewed.
Skerritt, however, praised the board’s creditors, noting they had shown great understanding so far.
“Our creditors to whom we owe money have had to carry the credit with us longer and larger than perhaps they had expected. I want to thank all who have been doing it including the Barbados Cricket Association and others whom we owe money to,” Skerritt said.
“There’s a tremendous amount of goodwill out there and I believe that goodwill has gone up. And so people who have been hounding us down understandably, have eased off a bit and they are taking our word that it is soon going to improve.”