A THORNY ISSUE: BCA must unite to achieve goals
I LIKEN the running of an institution to that of a relay team.
Teamwork has to be at the forefront to achieve the goals that have been set.
You don’t necessarily need to have equal strength on each leg to succeed but you do need every runner to perform the role he’s been assigned to the best of his ability. The synchronisation of effort could deliver the designated results.
As the just re-elected president of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) for his fifth term, I believe job number one for Joel Garner is to unite his organisation so that cricket’s best interest will be served.
It won’t happen if the deep divisions that come with elections are allowed to continue and fester like a terminal illness.
Listening to his post-election interview, I got the feeling he is very conscious that there might still be dark shadows which could pose a threat to good and stable governance of the association.
In stating he is prepared to work with anyone, he was also wary of those who would take to the media to leak sensitive and confidential information to the public, which could only serve to damage the image of the organisation even if that type of manoeuvring is intended to undermine a particular individual.
It is not an ideal world where hachets can be buried immediately in the aftermath of a bruising election campaign but the preferred route would be for the wounded to get over losing as quickly as possible and take up the responsibility on their leg of the relay, handing over the baton without blemish if possible.
If the elections were deemed free and fair, the voice of the electorate should be respected and let the mandate given be expedited with all hands on deck.
Truthfully, the workload of any organisational head is compounded if he has to be looking over his shoulder constantly.
This brings the question of trust into the equation, especially among those who took rival positions to the president’s men during the elections.
In the words of the current street slang, I am keeping it real and Garner seems to be doing the same.
The difference is that I am on the outside, far from where decisions will be taken, but Garner is right in the firing line, so he has to be concerned about the level of support he needs to help mastermind the plans for further cricket development.
Say what you will, the performance of national teams usually serves as the benchmark for what has happened in the boardroom.
If teams are successful, all is well and the administrators gloat about good planning and sound governance, but if they fall below expectations, they are called out and taken to the cleaners.
The latter scenario may have played out so far this season with the seniors falling short of the mark in their assignments and the youngsters in the age group championships barely showing up.
Surely, an argument can be made that if the head is bad, the whole body is bad. In short, some might opine the teams were mirror images of Garner and his executive.
I don’t think the BCA as a group recovered from the fallout of the mishandling of the Jeff Miller situation. It provided the prime opportunity for Garner’s detractors to play the blame game and savour a moment which has left a nasty stain on the association’s profile.
Under normal circumstances, heads would roll for that matter but the president was able to stand his ground. It is possible, though, that he continued to feel the internal pressure as he became more accountable than the average joe, in keeping with the association’s constitution for its head to safeguard its highest principles and standards.
I don’t think it ended there either. It was probably part of the ammunition used in a failed attempt to execute a palace coup.
How easy, therefore, is it for those who were badly wounded in the election exchanges to put aside differences they may have had with Garner and decide to pledge their full support for the benefit of the sport?
Although it would help for a smooth, working environment if everybody liked each other, I believe being professional at all times is what really gets the job done.
So, people don’t necessarily need to have any personal endearment for Garner to play their part in mending fences and making the BCA a stronger institution. Cricket will continue long after all of us are dead and buried.
Having said that, I think the president is the kind of personality who will be keen to hold out the proverbial olive branch to those who may still have reservations about working with him sincerely in an effort to keep moving forward.
The support he requires shouldn’t be limited to those who have been elected to serve on the executive and sub-committees but every other stakeholder in cricket, including ordinary supporters whose input is often overlooked because they might be dismissed as simpletons.
If I’m reading his script correctly, exclusivity can’t be among Garner’s options if he wants this term to be much smoother than the last. This is where his skills of statesmanship need to match his record as a devastating and successful fast bowler back in the day.
His performance on this relay leg will be under the microscope.
• Andi Thornhill is an experienced, award-winning sports journalist.