Bona fide business, management practices will help to improve team performances — Wehby


Bona fide business, management practices will help to improve team performances — Wehby

Saturday, April 20, 2019

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Jamaican Don Wehby, newly appointed to head the Cricket West Indies (CWI) corporate governance committee, says the implementation of bona fide business and management practices will contribute to improved team performances.

“I strongly believe that when you have good governance at the board level it will affect, in a positive way, our performance on the field,” Wehby told journalists on Wednesday at Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel where he had a breakfast meeting with recently elected CWI President Ricky Skerritt and other members of the regional body.

“One of the most important things is to get the buy-in from all the shareholders. Sometimes change is not necessarily an easy task, so let's see how that goes. President Skerritt has assured me I have the full support of him and the board,” he continued.

Skerritt said Wehby will have the freedom to act virtually independently.

“[Wehby] has very kindly agreed to help us move the whole area of corporate governance improvement forward. He is going to be head of a task force that will work semi-autonomously in bringing forward some implementation strategies for some recommendations that are already actually in place,” Skerritt said.

Wehby, the GraceKennedy Group chief executive officer, was an independent CWI board director between 2014 and 2016 performing similar duties under the previous Dave Cameron-led administration.

The reasoning from the cricket board then was that transparency and accountability were paramount.

Wehby had engaged multi-national auditing firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers to explore governance reports that have been done down the years, and identify what relevant recommendations can be implemented.

However, after his abrupt departure as director three years ago not much progress was made.

“Based on the briefing I got from the new president not much was done in terms of implementation. He has asked me to chair the corporate governance committee to ensure recommendations are implemented… to strengthen the governance.

“I was asked to put a team together to revisit [work] I did in 2016. Whatever I take on as a task I like to do it 100%... and hopefully I do a good job in terms of execution. I love cricket, it's my passion, and if I can help West Indies cricket in any way I'm going to work an extra hour or two every day to get it done,” he said.

Head of Jamaica Cricket Association Billy Heaven, who was also at Wednesday's meeting, welcomed the drive to transform the CWI's governance structure.

“It is no secret we need to look at governance at CWI. We need to make sure our principles of governance are in place. There are several reports out there that have been done by different people over different periods of time. I don't believe we have acted sufficiently on those reports.

“We believe that if we are to bring back respectability to CWI… if we are to get people to have confidence once again in CWI we must operate CWI as if it were a listed company. We cannot operate Cricket West Indies as a private company and expect to get public support,” Heaven told members of the media.

Reports examining the structure of West Indies cricket include those spearheaded by High Court judge Anthony Lucky (2004), former Jamaica Prime Minister PJ Patterson (2007), and Queen's Counsel Charles Wilkin (2012).

Despite underwhelming on-field performances and serious administrative problems that have set back West Indies cricket over the last 20 years, Wehby is optimistic of attracting corporate partners.

“Cricket West Indies and the brand and the popularity of West Indian cricket (are) still very high. I believe once we get our act together in terms of governance and technical issues we will attract sponsorship,” he said, noting Sandals Resorts' quick intervention after Digicel ended its sponsorship with CWI last year.

—Sanjay Myers

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