Neita questions Heaven’s commitment

January 30, 2019
Mark Neita

With less than a month before the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) elections, Mark Neita, who recently declared that he will challenge current president, Billy Heaven, says local cricket needs a hands-on president who knows how to get things done.

“Jamaica cricket needs a full-time president, not a president who comes in and out of the association at will. They need someone who is focused, who is committed and dedicated to the success and growth of cricket nationally,” Neita said.

The former player, who is the association’s vice-president, told STAR Sports that he has a working relationships with Heaven, but pointed out that their ideologies on how the sport should be managed are starkly different.

“We have some fundamental differences in the direction cricket must go in Jamaica, as I believe cricket must build from the bottom up, not from top down. We should focus on getting more schools involved, focus on the development of clubs and parishes and making sure our cricketers are technically equipped to survive at the highest level,” he said. “We also need to bring back sponsorship to cricket, because under this current administration, we have lost sponsorship. We have lost our way in terms of our position and relevance in regional cricket and this is why I am challenging, we need to change course.”

Neita, believes he has outgrown his second VP position and wants to have a direct impact on the development of the nation’s cricket. “I am the second vice-president but every organisation takes it’s cue from its leader and so the leader determines where you go, so although I am second vice-president and I share my vision, ultimately it’s the president who really decides where you go,” he said.

“We have different philosophies on how cricket must be dealt with, as I am very hands on when it comes to support and sponsorship. I go out and seek that myself, I don’t leave it to third party because at the end of the day, you’re the face of the organisation and it is not good enough to pass the buck to others, so you have to take responsibility for the success of the organisation.”

Neita pointed to his record as president of Melbourne Cricket Club, chairman of the JCA Development Committee and a member of the JCA marketing department, to show what he will bring to the presidency. “I am a roll up your sleeves type of leader. I am used to getting things done and I have a clear vision where we need to go. I have taken my position to the delegates and I think I have really good support. It’s going to be left up to the delegates and who they support to lead them into the future. But I believe in the delegates, that they share my vision and support me, as we want to change course from the direction we are going currently,” he said.

Elections for the next two-year term will take place on February 28, and Neita is confident of realising his dream. “I am not only confident, I am certain. I think people share my vision and collectively we will achieve this for the good of the game. I think I have a great chance and I am stepping out with faith,’ he said.All efforts to reach Heaven for comments were unsuccessful.

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