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Crying wolf too often

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Crying wolf too often

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My late father was a lawyer with close to 50 years in the profession before his death last year.
My sister has been an attorney-at-law for 20 years, and is now Grenada’s Chief Magistrate.
My brother-in-law is alsoa lawyer, and is a former president of the Grenada Bar Association. In no way do I consider myself an expert in any form of law – criminal, constitutional, contract, property, or administrative – but having had the privilege of listening to countless discussions among the legal minds in my family, I have anappreciation for the principles of justice and fairness.
As one who has covered the cricket beat for a long time, I have come across several instances in which teams were aggrieved by actions which prompted them to seek redress in the form of official protests to the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA).
It is their right to do so if they feel they have suffered as a result of a breach or an error by an opposing team or match official. If a protest leads to a reversal of an original verdict and justice prevails in the end, lessons can be learnt from the exercise that may help eliminate similar mistakes in future.
If, however, one particular team is repeatedly at the heart of a few protests and more often than not ends up on the “losing” side, eyebrows are bound to be raised. If the accompanying evidence for these protests is frequently flimsy and the complaints are dismissed, fingers will again be pointed in their direction.
Such has been the case with Sagicor UWI since their admission to the top level of domestic cricket in 2006.
They have either officially protested decisions or announced their intention to protest in circumstances where even the casual observer could see there were no justifiable grounds for their actions. Their latest complaint was thrown out three days ago when they protested the type of ball used by BNB St Catherine in the Sagicor General Cup semi-final match at Bayfield last Sunday.
Only five months ago, UWI also expressed dissatisfaction with the ball that was provided for the Sagicor General Twenty20 Final against ICBL Empire at Kensington Oval.
In both cases, the ball was approved prior to the match by respected umpires and match referees, yet UWI saw the need to take their grouses to the board room. UWI were arguing about the absence of a BCA logo on the balls in both instances, but the relevant rule states “only four-piece, white-coloured balls provided by the BCA shall be used for the competition”.
Ironically, the same UWI were also penalised for using an incorrect ball in a Division 1 match against Wanderers last year. While protests can help, it is fair to say that some of these complaints from UWI have only served to hinder.
This latest, coming at the time it did, led to the postponement of Thursday’s final between St Catherine and Guardian General Barbados Youth, principally because organisers wanted to ensure that no team was placed in a disadvantageous position as a result of any delays, and a desire to ensure that each participant competed in a calm and settled atmosphere.
The BCA must be commended for its initiative in having this matter dealt with so swiftly, considering the challenges it sometimes has in assembling enough members of its voluntary complaints and disputes committee.
After taking everything into consideration, I cannot fault the BCA for postponing the final, but a delay in the tournament at this time, however, could trigger a negative effect, especially if the match is not played before Christmas Day.
The protest and postponement have already caused the BCA additional expenditure and the longer the delay, it may only be inevitable that there could be a decline in interest among fans who would have been looking forward to the day/night final with much anticipation. The momentum gained from the staging of the quarter-finals and semi-finals has been lost because of a protest that was not needed.
UWI have been excellent performers on the field over the past five seasons. In another two days, they are expected to retain the LIME Division 1 title. They have also won the Sagicior General Cup once and have been in the top four of almost every competition.
As time has gone on, however, they have lost many admirers for a host of reasons, including their consistency in making unnecessary complaints. In an effort to reduce the number of unjustifiable protests, the BCA decided a few years ago to stipulate that each complaint lodged must be accompanied by a hearing fee of $300, a portion of which could be refunded if the complaints and disputes committee were of the view that the protest was justified.
It would be safe to assume that UWI have received very few refunds. Sagicor has been a significant corporate partner with UWI in recent times. In addition to sponsoring itsfirst XI team,and is the title sponsor of the West Indies High Performance Centre.
It is against that background that the Sagicor UWI cricket team should be conscious about potential damage it could cause when it consistently files protests in theSagicor General competitions.
If I were the head honcho of the Sagicor Group of Companies, when the sponsorship of the UWI team comes to an end, I would have to give serious thought to consideration of a renewal.
• Haydn Gill is the NATION’S Associate Editor (Sports) and can be reached at [email protected]