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Tennyson Joseph, [email protected]


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WHEN THE JAMAICAN PRESIDENT of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Dave Cameron, responded to the likelihood of a vote against his presidency from the Jamaican Cricket Association by appealing to his Jamaican compatriots to vote for him as a Jamaican, it became clear that his leadership style was to utilise naked Machiavellian tactics, despite how negatively his approach might be viewed.

Since then, Cameron’s single-minded “power-for-its-own-sake” approach has been on full display.

While trained political scientists are accustomed to applying their analytical tools to explaining the actions of our political leaders, they have less frequently applied their tools to analysing the actions of non-state leaders like Cameron.

How do we make sense of the recent spate of firings of captains and coaches in a context where Cameron, having secured the presidency, may be seeking to consolidate power indefinitely?

In answering this question, all eyes can be turned to the WICB’s approach towards Barbadian cricket and Joel Garner, the president of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), in particular. 

It cannot be forgotten that Garner, following his highly spirited challenge to Cameron’s presidency earlier this year, emerged as president-in-waiting, and Cameron’s greatest threat. Nor should it be forgotten that during Garner’s bid, there existed a strong pro-Cameron Barbadian clique hotly opposed to Garner.

There is no escaping the fact that the recent WICB manoeuvrings have effectively neutralised Garner’s presidential challenge.

It is significant that one of the earliest regional board presidents to condemn the Barriteau-CARICOM report was Garner, who boldly insisted that CARICOM governments should stay out of West Indies cricket.

Coming from someone whose challenge to Cameron stood to be vindicated by the CARICOM heads, it was a very strange turn of events. However, today, with Garner’s selection as senior team manager, and with Barbadian team captains, chairman of selectors, head coach and large team representation, Garner appears to be politically neutralised. Ironically, his acceptance of the manager’s role has withered his political capital, and has placed his BCA leadership under question.

What of the regional manoeuvres? It was critically important for Cameron to have the Windwards board on his side following his emergence from the Hunte-Hilaire term: enter Dominican Emmanuel Nanthan and St Lucian Julian Charles.

Trinidad’s price was the Test and 50-over sacking of Darren Sammy and the elevation of Dwayne Bravo and Denish Ramdin; the Leewards was rewarded with key coaching positions. Guyana was too consumed with internal problems to matter too much.

Today’s new political challenges have seen a new round of Machiavellian manoeuvring: Sammy, Ambrose, Ramdin and Phil Simmons have been sacked and replaced by Barbadians. Poor Simmons was too focused on cricket to play the political game (Read “outside interference”). Sammy was too pro-CARICOM. Cameron has neutralised all challengers.

And the cricket? Who cares?

•Tennyson Joseph is a political scientist at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, specialising in regional affairs. Email: [email protected]