Windies players call on govt aid in pay dispute

PORT OF SPAIN: Protesting West Indies players have turned to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Governments for help in their current impasse with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).

At the same time, the WICB reaffirmed their commitment to start paying out money owed to the players under what agreements they believe they had already established with them.

These are the latest developments in the continuing saga between the two sides which has led to the leading West Indies players making themselves unavailable for the ongoing home series against Bangladesh.

The action, over pay and contract issues, is forcing the WICB to field an under-strength side for the ongoing home series against Bangladesh which features two Tests, three One-day Internationals, and a Twenty20 International.

But the West Indies Players' Association said late on Wednesday that it had written to Guyana President Bharat Jagdeo to seek his intervention.

Jagdeo is the current chairman of the Heads of Government of CARICOM committee which is similar in its composition and function to the African Union.

In the past, the CARICOM Heads have played a leading role in similar disputes, particularly when Keith Mitchell, the former Prime Minister of Grenada, was the chairman of the Heads' sub-committee on the sport.

WIPA Executive President Dinanath Ramnarine said in a letter to President Jagdeo that the players felt confident that the Heads of Government through its chairman would be able to find a mechanism to resolve the dispute.

"We at WIPA are fully conscious of the importance of cricket to the economy and unity of the region, and the psyche of its peoples - matters in which you and other Heads of Governments are continuously and intrinsically involved," said Ramnarine.

He added: "Our players are deeply mindful of this responsibility they shoulder on behalf of this important group of stakeholders. It is, therefore, in this context that we at WIPA wish to have a speedy resolution to these issues."

A meeting date has already been suggested, but there are no details to suggest that both sides have agreed to the see the Guyana President.

Meantime, WICB Vice President Dave Cameron told the Caribbean Media Corporation, the regional news agency, that the players will begin to receive payments for the tour of England and the recent home ODI series against India shortly.

Although there are no written or signed contracts in place for these two series, the WICB has decided to pay on the basis of verbal agreements and written undertakings which they had with WIPA.

"At present, the situation remains the same," said Cameron, who is also chairman of the WICB's negotiating committee. "We are not going to negotiate under duress and that is final.

"What we have done however, is to make arrangements to pay the players for their services.

"Presently, the wages for the England tour and the India tour are being processed and we will get it to the players as soon as possible."

Cameron noted that the WICB would not however, be paying salaries for the Twenty20 Cup until the regional governing body has received their share of the purse from the International Cricket Council, the sport's World governing body.

"When we get it, we will pay the players," he said.

Cameron also dismissed reports that players who were interested in playing for the West Indies had until Wednesday to apologise and declare their availability in order to qualify for selection to the squad for the ICC Champions Trophy.

"I don't know where that came from," he said.

"We are not aware of this, but what I can say is that we have to submit a list of names for the selectors to choose a group of players to prepare for the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa in September."

The West Indies selectors are to meet next week to select a provisional squad of 30 players for the competition, which will then be trimmed down to 15 a few weeks later.