Latest governance report calls for comprehensive reforms in CWI board

Latest governance report calls for comprehensive reforms in CWI board

Ricky Skerritt, President of Cricket West Indies. © Marlon Reid

In an attempt to achieve greater efficiency in managing the sport across the region, the governance report has urged Cricket West Indies (CWI) to make ‘comprehensive reforms’ and recommended revamping of its board structure.

The Independent Task Force for Corporate Governance, which is headed by Jamaican businessman and Senator Don Wehby, this week has submitted a final 36-page report to the regional governing body, calling for a reduction in the size of the board and greater diversity in gender and skill-set in its composition.

It also proposed a change in the president and vice-president roles to make them more ‘non-executive’ and rooted for a smaller size of the internal committees in an aim to address the old bureaucratic structure.

“Governance reform is one of the important promises vice-president Kishore Shallow and myself made prior to our election last year,” CWI President Ricky Skerritt said. “When all is said and done, we expect that the Wehby Report will be seriously considered by the directors and member representatives. The task force and stakeholders can be assured that we will do all we can to ensure the implementation of this report.”

The Task Force comprises of University of the West Indies vice-chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, along with former West Indies vice-captain Deryck Murray, Jamaican businessman OK Melhado and prominent Caribbean lawyer, Charles Wilkin, QC.

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Wehby said once the recommendations are implemented, it would enhance the body’s governance capabilities, praising CWI’s vision to commission the project. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of my Task Force for their selfless dedication to the completion of this project, over the past year,” Wehby said.

“Their time, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, has made the finalisation of this report a reality. We would also like to commend CWI President Ricky Skerritt and his Board of Directors for seeing the need for governance reform and giving us the opportunity to make a contribution to the sport we love, and for which we wish the utmost best.”

He added: “Our Task Force has met formally sixteen times over the period and we have spent many hours preparing the report submitted. We are positive that, if implemented, the recommendations of the Wehby Report will improve the governance of CWI and result in positive effects on team performance.”

The report states for a restructuring of governance ‘using key principles of modern governance to provide greater accountability and transparency’ and aims at the size of the board of directors. It also suggested reducing the size to a more balanced board of 12 … with an eventual reducing to nine including at least two women. Currently, the 18-member board includes only one woman – Trinidadian attorney Debra Coryat-Patton.

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It also recommended the formation of a nominations committee that will ‘identify and evaluate potential directors and to nominate future directors and committee members’ and to slash the current committee structure from 12 to five.

“The principal roles and responsibilities of the Board are organisational and financial planning and reporting, decisions on investments and capital projects, preserving the assets of the company, establishing policy, selecting the executive, general oversight of the executive and exercising other powers given to it by the constituent documents of the company,” the report said.

“The membership of the Board should reflect a wide cross-section of the skills and competencies required for carrying out its roles and responsibilities.” This is not the first time such report has been made.

In a 139-page Patterson Report of 2007, which is authored by distinguished former Jamaica Prime Minister PJ Patterson, called for the then West Indies Cricket Board to give way to a ‘more representative body’ and urged the creation of a West Indies Cricket Commission to enable better governance.

Wilkins then chaired another governance review in 2012 while a CARICOM-commissioned panel, headed by UWI Cave Hill principal, Professor Eudine Barriteau, in 2015 famously labelled the board as ‘anachronistic, antiquated and obsolete’ while recommending ‘its immediate dissolution’.