WIPA needs to wheel and come again

October 10, 2015
Shivnarine Chanderpaul

WIPA needs to wheel and come again

Adrian Frater


While I strongly believe that a united group, bonded behind a single cause, is much more likely to succeed than little splinter groups representing their own individual interest, I really cannot fault those members of the West Indies cricket team who have decided not to put their trust in the West Indies Players Association (WIPA),

In doing some research on WIPA, which was established in 1973 to represent the best interest of the West Indians players, it would appear that the organisation has lost its original mandate and has all but become an agent of compromise, seeking to become an ally of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).

I find the current situation somewhat disturbing as earlier years, WIPA had developed an awesome reputation for providing high quality representation, especially in the era of the no-nonsense Dinanath Ramnarine, who was not afraid to go the legal route to ensure that the rights of the players were fully protected.

In fact, based on WIPA?s perfect 100 percent win record against the WICB in cases that were sent to arbitration after court hearings, no one can argue that the organisation has been a formidable voice when it came to ensuring the players got proper representation and just rewards.

My concern with the present day WIPA is that it appears to be embracing a different agenda from the players, especially the senior players, particularly those who figured prominently in the premature ending of the 2014 Indian tour, which landed the WICB with a massive US$43 million, which the Indians are adamant that they must pay.

While I have repeatedly made it quite clear that the WICB is all but totally responsible for the debacle in India, I believe whatever blame falls off the head of the board definitely belongs on the shoulders of WIPA. If WIPA saw representing the interest of the players as their primary responsibility, it should not have created a situation where the players felt they had to take matters into their own hands. Although many persons, including some very respectable voices in cricket, have lashed out against the players, labelling them as mercenaries among other demeaning names, I am sure those who are union members would not tolerate having their delegates seemingly more interested in pleasing the boss than addressing their concerns.

When the rumblings started in India, the WIPA leadership should have jumped on a plane and headed straight off to the subcontinent with a view of trying their best to fix the situation. Had WIPA done that and the players still took the action they did, at least WIPA would have had a leg to stand on.

Another contentious situation in which I found WIPA woefully wanting was the unceremonious sacking of veteran batsman Shiv Chanderpaul. Once it became obvious that the board wanted the star batsman to retire and the player refused to budge, WIPA should have intervened with a view to creating the type of platform required for an orderly separation.

It is matters such as those mentioned above that I believe have caused some prominent members of the current West Indies set-up to have turned their backs on WIPA.

Surely, if you feel that your union is not representing your best interest, you have a right to step away and seek other avenues.

As I stated at the beginning of this article, I believe there is much strength in unity and if operating properly, an organisation such as WIPA is important to West Indies cricket. It is against that background that I would like to see WIPA do the self-evaluation, which is needed to again become the authentic voice of the West Indies players.

Ps. Feel free to send your feedback to adrianfrater@hotmail.com

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