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Ramnarine off to court

Ezra Stuart

Ramnarine off to court

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More court action!
In another twist to the off-the-field problems in West Indies cricket, controversial head of the player’s body, Dinanath Ramnarine, intends to take legal action against chief executive officer of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Dr Ernest Hilaire, for defamatory remarks.
In a statement yesterday, the board of directors of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) made it clear that the WICB could not tell WIPA who should represent the players at meetings with the WICB.
“It is very interesting that this comes at this time with so many upcoming arbitration matters and the very important negotiation for a revised collective bargaining agreement and memorandum of understanding,” WIPA director Michael Hall said.
 “Mr Ramnarine already has a matter in court with the WICB for libelling him, which is now under the aegis of the High Court. Yet, despite this, the WICB’s CEO accused Mr  Ramnarine last week of trying to siphon off money due to players to another account,” Hall noted.
Hall pointed out that at last week’s heated meeting between the two feuding bodies, WIPA representatives were told by Hilaire that he could substantiate his allegation by providing an email exchange between Ramnarine and himself.
“Mr Hilaire was asked to produce the said email at the meeting and was even given further time to produce it. To date we have not seen this email exchange or any other proof. However, Mr Ramnarine has submitted the email exchanges that he had with Mr Hilaire on the subject in question and there is no such evidence to substantiate the defamatory statements made by Mr Hilaire,” said Hall, who previously served as CEO of the regional cricket board.
“Mr Ramnarine has indicated to the WIPA board that he will be taking legal action against Mr Hilaire and it fully supports this decision,” added Hall.
On Monday, in another release, WIPA declared that Hilaire was given a seven-day ultimatum to apologize to Ramnarine. WIPA also accused the WICB of using “street tactics” after the regional cricket board on Sunday said it would no longer engage Ramnarine on issues unless he changed his behaviour and conduct.
“WIPA is confident and appreciative that its representatives are able to operate at all levels, deal with the give-and-take in tough negotiations and do not have to withdraw when the going gets tough,” WIPA responded.  “In that vein, the WIPA board is disappointed by WICB’s street tactics in attempting to construe fervent negotiations as something more.”
 WIPA had indicated that it was satisfied with the report from its representatives and members at the meeting and called on Hilaire to “make an unreserved and unconditional withdrawal and apology” for remarks he made at the meeting called to resolve issues relating to comments made by former captain Chris Gayle in a radio interview.
The WIPA directors also expressed confidence in Ramnarine, pointing to his impressive performance as the players’ representative.“