Ken Gordon's Strange 'Accountability'

Mon, Oct 17, '05


Ken Gordon

Ken Gordon assumed the presidency of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) with a bold promise to ensure a "new era of transparency" but, after just two month on the job, the media magnate is being taken to task for his public response to legitimate issues.

Trinidadian cricket writer Vaneisa Baksh is among those unsatisfied with Gordon's public utterances, accusing the board of mistaking media management with transparency and accountability and increasing the quantity rather than the quality of its disclosures.

In her "Firefly" column published in the Barbados Nation newspaper, Baksh raised the issue of the new composition of the Cricket World Cup 2007 board, nothing that the franchise holder of KFC in St Vincent, Ken Boyea, was added as a director "almost at the same time" that the fast food chain assumed the sponsorship of the regional one-day competition.

The WICB, Baksh contended, made the announcement "without mentioning the connection; leaving one to speculate if the directorship was the cost."

"In naming the board members, the board omitted the representative of the University of the West Indies, Professor Hilary Beckles. Since Professor Beckles and Claude Denbow were reported to have not attended the meeting of the board where CWC directors resigned after chairman Rawle Brancker did, and Denbow's name reappears, one is left to wonder if the UWI, having been included on the board only a year ago, was "resigned" by the WICB or had offered a subsequent and secret resignation," Baksh wrote.

Baksh, who served as a World Cup board director before resigning because of ill health, stressed that the WICB was "reluctant to admit the UWI to the CWC board in the first place," a fact that could lead to speculation that the new president did not see it fit to address the gathering of players for the Presidential Cup because they were at the 3W's Oval at Cave Hill.

"In the shambles of West Indies cricket, and the defensive and defiant WICB postures ? [Ken Gordon?s] dismissive response to the call for a forensic audit being that whoever wants it could pay for it; the shockingly cavalier manner in which the West Indies cricket captain could be excused from attending the meeting of all Test captains because he was busy with the KFC Cup; the technically dissolved CWC 2007 Inc. functioning from September 3 without directors ? there will not be much opposition to a coup," Baksh wrote, arguing that the Stanford 20/20 initiative should be seen as the first push towards restructuring the management of West Indies cricket.

"Embryonic as it may be, the signs are there that the Stanford initiative could pave the way for restructuring the administration of West Indies cricket...Stakeholders clamour for a change in the administration, holler for transparency and accountability, and still find little genuine response from the WICB," she added.

Gordon's response to questions about former WICB president Teddy Griffith's inclusion on the World Cup board also raised eyebrows around the region.

Griffith, who admitted ?- and claimed responsibility -- for the absence of minutes detailing board approval for the controversial Digicel contract, was retained on the board even with all that baggage but when the question was posed to Gordon, he gave Tony Cozier a telling response.

"You want the best people available and Teddy Griffith certainly falls into that category. As president, he was involved in preparations for the World Cup and brings that background and that information to the table," Gordon said.

On Griffith's own decision to step down from the WICB presidency because of ?personal and family considerations, Gordon said it was "entirely different thing being president of the WICB and all that entails and being a member of the board of the World Cup."

On word circulating that Griffith is serving as a paid consultant to the World Cup board, Gordon dismissed that as rumours "started by someone with a particular agenda."

"That's the first I've heard of it and I don't know where it's come from," he said. "[I] can categorically deny that Teddy Griffith is receiving any payment."