Ex-president Bailey hits back at allegations of wrongdoing
Ed Bailey has hit back at allegations about his controversial past as the former Bermuda Cricket Board of Control president and labelled his anonymous detractors as “ghostly cowards”.
In an article in yesterday's Royal Gazette sources claimed that Bailey was forced to resign in 1997 after a club rebellion over his 'dictatorial regime' and 'incompetent administration'.
They also raised question marks over financial irregularities that the incoming executive discovered when they started auditing the accounts soon after he stepped down from his position.
Bailey, however, who announced he was pulling out of the running to become BCB president at the weekend, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and described the allegations and 'totally false and erroneous'.
“No doubt this behaviour is indicative of the toxicity that prevails in a small group of individuals who are responsible to the demise of the sport,” said Bailey, who considering seeking legal advice over the allegations.
Bailey failed to return phone calls last week and did not respond to e-mailed questions concerning his previous tenure as BCB president.
“The clubs and right thinking people must stand up and take back their sport which has benefited so many successful Bermudians. Be assured I will continue with my efforts to promote and develop Bermuda's Cricket,” he added.
It's alleged that during Bailey's tenure as president around $20,000 of BCBC cash from a Barclays Bank account could not be accounted for.
However, yesterday Bailey's former BCBC colleague Rudolph Lawrence said he knew nothing about money missing from the account, which he said was set aside to finance the Island's participation in the 1997 ICC Trophy in Malaysia, India's incoming tour and the International Youth Tournament (IYT) that Bermuda also hosted that year
“As far as I am concerned the first time I heard of these allegations was when I read the paper this morning,” he said. “I was surprised something like this would come up 14 years later.
“If these allegations were that serious then it should've been dealt with 14 years ago.
“If anything took place then it should've been dealt with during the handover or shortly after but we were never told about any allegations at the time.”
Lawrence said he believes Bailey's demise came about because of his political ties with the UBP more than anything else.
“People didn't like the idea that Ed was UBP and it was a PLP UBP thing,” he said. “I used to say, 'look fellows, we are here to serve cricket'. I supported the PLP but I was there to serve cricket.”
Lawrence alleged that he was invited by former BCBC president El James to join the coup that ousted Bailey's administration.
“El said he was going to take over from Ed Bailey and asked me did I want to join them but I said no,” he said. “I told him that I didn't want to be a part of that and was not going to stab my president in the back.”
James declined to comment when contacted yesterday.
Former top umpire Randy Butler said the allegations against Bailey are an attempt to discredit the MCC member and derail his bid for re-election as BCB president.
“I think it's a whole lot of hogwash going on,” he said.
“It seems as though there are people affiliated with the Board who may have felt that Ed stood a strong chance (of being re-elected) and this is one way of discrediting him.
“I think it's a bit underhanded in the way they have gone about this and I guess this is the sort of thing some people do around elections if they feel they have something on you. I think people are trying to give him a bad name and it's wrong and unfair.
“Nothing was ever proven and if El (James) said he wasn't worried with it and dropped the thing then obviously there couldn't be anything to it.
'El didn't produce a financial report indicating anything like that and he also didn't get rid of Neil (BCB CEO Neil Speight) who was the treasurer. Nobody proved anything.”
At the time of his resignation Bailey lashed out at those responsible for his administration's demise.
“No doubt my love for the sport will always be strong, regardless of the enormous misunderstandings and misgivings of those who have desperately made efforts to put their own selfish agenda ahead of the welfare of the game of cricket,” he said.