Former board members call for WICB audit

A call has come from former presidents and officials of the West Indies Cricket Board urging CARICOM to conduct a forensic audit of the board to rescue West Indies cricket.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is a grouping of twenty countries: fifteen Member States and five Associate Members. CARICOM’s main purposes are to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of integration are equitably shared, and to coordinate foreign policy.

The plea has come from six former officials in the form of Ken Gordon, Pat Rousseau, Anthony Deyal, Charles Wilkin, Bruce Aanensen and Imran Khan amid growing concerns about how the game is being run in the Caribbean.

Gordon, WICB president from 2006 to 2008, said: “We must reinforce the message that West Indies cricket belongs to the people of the West Indies, not to the WICB.

“It may be timely to call for a forensic audit of the organisation. We need to lift the clouded veil which now surrounds that body.

“Answers are required and this can be a first step to return to the transparency required of a body which is a major beneficiary of regional resources and private sponsorship.

“Many lovers of the game have said to me, ‘What can we do that would make a difference?’ The WICB seems to be untouchable. I say to them and to all cricket lovers who are concerned, let the call for a forensic audit be loud and clear.

“We need to save our cricket and this has to begin with getting the WICB right. It would be entirely legitimate for CARICOM to fund such an exercise and I urge that they consider doing so.”

When approached for comment by ESPNcricinfo a spokesperson for the WICB said: “We maintain an internal and external audit system with PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG respectively. You may refer to them for any additional inquiries you may have.”

Gordon made a plea to CARICOM earlier this year but the regional body have failed to respond.

Rousseau, who was WICB president from 1996 to 2001, firmly believes all sporting bodies should be closely monitored: “There should be an assurance that there is certification by an independent group that proper governance procedures are followed at all times.

“I would commend to all the governments in CARICOM that they create special legislation that brings all the sporting associations under an obligation to observe good governance principles and to protect the finances of the association.”

The WICB’s corporate secretary between 2006 and 2008, Deyal echoed Gordon’s sentiments: “I strongly support the call.

“Mr Gordon has made a strong case for following the money and has proposed as the mechanism a forensic audit of the individual boards which own the WICB and of the WICB itself.

“There is a deep threat of the absolute and total downfall of West Indies cricket. It’s a process which is fully underway and at this stage seemingly inevitable.”

Former board committee member Wilkin urged governments to cut the WICB off from use of stadia and government facilities as a mean of holding the board accountable.

Wilkin said: “The real leverage which CARICOM has, if it seriously wants to force the WICB to change, is the control of most of the stadia used for international matches.

“The WICB will not be able to host touring teams if the CARICOM governments refuse permission for use of the stadia and the various other permits required under local law.”

Former WICB communications officer Khan agreed with Wilkin while also calling for a fan boycott: “Two things need to happen: mass fan boycott, and CARICOM governments refusing the WICB access to grounds which they own or control or have influence over.

“CARICOM can no longer delay taking decisive action to rescue to the regional game from the cauldron of incompetence from which it boils. To not act is to contribute to the further deterioration of the regional game and to be complicit in its inevitable demise.”