Author: MNI Media | Date: 01 July 2020
St John’s, Antigua: Former West Indies cricket selectors Courtney Browne and Eldine Baptiste are calling on Cricket West Indies (CWI) to resolve the ongoing dispute between themselves and CWI to avoid spiralling court costs and further negative publicity for CWI.
By a letter dated 10 April 2019, Browne, who was former Chairman of Cricket West Indies selection panel and Baptiste, who was himself a selector, were informed that their services were no longer required by Cricket West Indies after 31 March 2019. The termination letters made reference to a Task Force established to review the selection system at all levels and noted that the committee would be chaired by Vice President Dr. Kishore Shallow. The letters further indicated that Dr. Shallow was expected to present recommendations to Cricket West Indies at its board meeting in June 2019. However, both Browne and Baptiste were dismissed before a review took place.
A day after both Browne and Baptiste were fired, the newly elected President, Mr. Ricky Skerritt, explained that there was a review of the system of selection. "All of our decisions are guided by a 'Cricket First' mantra that was so readily welcomed by stakeholders everywhere, who told us to ensure that we could put the best available players on the field," he said. "In order to do so, we have found it necessary to immediately adjust our selection policy to become more open, inclusive, and player-centric. I am therefore pleased to confirm that we have terminated the old embedded selection policy which secretly, but actively, victimized some players and banished them from selection consideration."
Browne and Baptiste contend that their contracts were for services and that they were not independent contractors, as stated by Cricket West Indies. Browne and Baptiste have stated that presently the matter is before the Industrial Court in Antigua and that they cannot divulge too much about the facts of the case at this point. However, both men are of the view that it would be in the interest of all parties to settle this matter amicably to avoid further unnecessary court costs.
Both Browne and Baptiste are claiming unfair dismissal under the Antigua & Barbuda Labour Code. Browne served as a selector from 2010 to 2016 and chairman of selectors for Cricket West Indies from 2016 to 2019. Baptiste carried out his selector duties from 2014 to 2019. Both men have also represented the West Indies Cricket team as players.
Both men are represented by the legal team of Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan, UK-based barrister Owen Roach and the Antigua law firm of Thomas, John and Co.