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Cricket caught out again by ‘secret’ AGM

Bermuda Cricket Board held their Annual General Meeting last month.

How did we know? We didn’t.

The governing body of cricket, the Island’s national sport, neglected to tell the media, i.e the public, they were about to decide how the sport should be run over the next year, and more importantly, who was running it.

The BCB are much like the Freemasons — a secret organisation whose business is nobody else’s business.

Regardless of whether many positives came out of the meeting, they’re reluctant to share them with the public.

Many years ago members of the press were allowed to attend the AGM. Under the presidency of the legendary Alma (Champ) Hunt they were actually encouraged. He wanted the public to be informed on how he and his executive were shaping the sport, he wanted to show the Board were in good financial standing, and he wanted to emphasise the good work carried out in the previous year.

Bermuda Football Association adopted the same policy. The media were invited to their AGM. Sadly, that too has changed.

What is particularly strange about the current administration is that not only are they reluctant to divulge any details once the meeting is over, they go to some length to ensure nothing discussed between their four walls will be discussed anywhere else, perhaps forgetting again the sport is mostly funded by the taxpayer.

As it has now been revealed by this newspaper, there was at least one positive that came out of their annual gathering — Allan Douglas was appointed second vice-president. There’s no one more passionate about the game than the national team’s former wicketkeeper.

If anybody wants to see the sport flourish it’s Allan Douglas. He’s been as committed as a coach as he was as a player. He’s shown on many occasions what he’s prepared to give back to the game. That’s more than can be said of many former top players.

But it’s a shame his ideas won’t be shared with the public. Like others who serve on the BCB, he’s prevented from speaking to the media unless first given permission to do so by President Lloyd Fray or CEO Neil Speight.

That’s one issue that may or may not have been raised during the AGM’s ‘any other business’.

Ask Derek Wright, the former chairman of the selection committee, who has been turfed out because he happened to tell a Gazette reporter that the knockout cup trophy had been handed to Willow Cuts as their opponents Somerset failed to show up.

A rather innocuous revelation.

The Board weren’t in any hurry to make an announcement. So, unwittingly, Wright mentioned the circumstances, noting Willow Cuts had been declared champions, and it was duly reported.

No big deal, one would have thought.

Speight and Fray apparently felt otherwise. If they didn’t announce it, then nobody else on the Board could.

According to Wright, he was summoned to appear before a three-member panel and explain his ‘indiscretion’. And he was clean bowled and told he was no longer welcome in the pavilion.

If this is how the game is being run, if such trivial incidents are dealt with such severity, is it no wonder we have so many problems with Bermuda cricket?

Now, and perhaps more disturbing, is that no details have been revealed of the financial report provided at the AGM at least not by the Board.

Fortunately, this newspaper managed to get that report yesterday, without the BCB’s knowledge (see story above).

They, much like the incident involving Wright, probably regard it as an ‘internal matter’ not for public consumption. But it’s not.

Given the grant afforded the governing body each year, we have a right to know how much has been spent and on what it has been spent.

Government convened a panel to examine how the $11 million given to the Board before and after the 2007 World Cup had been distributed. They found nothing untoward but they did recommend the Board should be more transparent.

Apparently nobody was listening.

Private clubs are exactly that — private. They are under no obligation to reveal their business.

But a national sport has a duty to keep the public informed. And at the very least, tell the media the date of their AGM. We can then ask the relevant questions . .. and will be treated with the same contempt as is always the case.

If one wants to know more about cricket in Bermuda, they can visit the BCB website.

It’ll tell you all of the wonderful things they’re doing to enhance the sport. But it won’t tell you they’ve recently held their AGM, let alone what might have transpired.

The world’s governing body, the ICC, fire off press releases every day of the year, sometimes three or four, so anxious are they to keep the public informed on every facet of the game, both on and off the field.

They’re aware that the more information they can provide, the more likely it is the game can expand its horizons.

The BCB see it differently. Although attendance figures for league matches can sometimes number less than a dozen, there seems to be no attempt to reverse this trend.

Neil Speight sits on one of the ICC’s influential committees. Next time in Dubai, he might want to take time out to visit the media office and pick up some tips on how the game should be promoted.

ADRIAN ROBSON

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Published December 07, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated December 06, 2012 at 9:24 pm)

Cricket caught out again by ‘secret’ AGM

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