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USACA executives with WICB president Julian Hunte and Chris Dehring.

Dainty Stuns Rivals For Presidential Hat Trick

By Orin Davidson
March 31st, 2008
Sticks and stones have broken many men, but not Gladstone Dainty.

Wracked by criticism and turmoil during his tenure as President of the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA), that included two suspensions of the country from world cricket, Dainty emerged from the debris to beat newcomer and hot favorite Ram Varadarajan to retain the presidency at the executive elections on Saturday.

Some of the attendees at last Saturday election.

Dainty triumphed by a narrow 18 votes to 15 margin over California-based business executive Varadarajan and made history by winning three straight terms as president at the La Guardia Crowne Plaza hotel in New York, leaving the other candidate former president Kamran Khan with a meager one vote.

But he suffered two casualties in the process, as his executive will have one new of two vice presidents, a new secretary and a new treasurer.

Nabeel Ahmed who served as Dainty’s first vice president easily retained his post but Paul Da Silva and Selwyn Caesar were ousted as secretary and treasurer respectively.

Munaff Mohamed, one of three candidates from the Varadarajan “ New Innings” slate, was a comfortable winner for second vice president - the new position on the executive created by the recently reworked USACA constitution.

Popular New York administrator Kris Prasad managed only three votes as Ahmed, made light work of a field for first vice president that included Shahid Tahir of the Varadarajan slate.
But fast rising John Aaron, the recently elected New York Chairman, edged Da Silva by a solitary vote 17-16 for secretary and similarly in a narrow battle Thickett dislodged longstanding treasurer Caesar 18-16.

It means that while the old executive will retain two of the old guard, it will be balanced by three members of the Varadarajan slate that promised much in terms of plans for the development of United States cricket.

With most of the 36-odd league presidents casting their ballots in person and proxy, there were no immediate complaints about irregularities by the contestants.

West Indies Cricket Board president Julian Hunte whose organization was charged by world ruling body the International cricket Council (ICC) to regulate and overlook the elections, proclaimed it free and fair.

Chris Dehring, the 2007 World Cup organizing committee CEO, who was directly responsible for the running of the elections , also gave it the thumbs up, stating that the new executive, should proceed with its development thrust without complaints. The KPMG representative who audited the process also detected no irregularities. Also present was WICB attorney Dereck Jones.

A triumphant Dainty explained to this writer that his experience and accomplishments was the key to his victory.

“I’ve always had the vision, I have executed and I think my winning is more or less a reward for keeping cricket going under a lot of pressure,” the Guyana- born accountant stated adding that “ Democracy works”

On having to work with three new executives, Dainty gave faint endorsement to the emergence of Mohamed, Aaron and Thickett.
“I don’t know much about these gentlemen, but I give them the benefit of the doubt, we have a lot of people in the United States, I don’t think we should depend on Dainty and his team alone, that’s been the problem in the past.” Cricket is for all of us and it should be run by all of us.” the president declared.

Dainty added that he is not averse to reaching out for support to Varadarajan who had campaigned on an ambitious plan for financing U.S. cricket.

Likewise the India-born Varadarajan who was making his first bid for any USACA office, said he will offer whatever help he could while continuing to push for development. “I will continue to call for change, I will help the current administration move forward and play whatever role I can”.

On losing a tight contest, Varadarajan felt his newcomer status might have cost him victory. “Maybe people voted along old alliances that trumped the call for change,” he said adding, “ I don’t think they (voters) changed at the last minute, certainly I am disappointed by the results, but I am happy we got some element of change into the management,” Varadarajan pointed out in reference to three of his “New Innings” slate getting on board.
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