By John L. Aaron
The upcoming New York Cricket Region (NYCR) election appears to be mired in controversy, with two sets of characters – the protagonists and the antagonists. Clearly a script is unfolding that can only hurt, not help cricket in the region and further create a divide among the stakeholders.
The 1859 Charles Dickens’ novel – A Tale of Two Cities may be well-suited as a backdrop as the election plays out, with some very colorful characters reenacting the pivotal response to a note from one of the novel’s characters Jerry Cruncher, instructing Jarvis Lorry to wait at Dover for a young woman. Lorry’s response was a cryptic “Recalled to Life.”
An Elections Committee comprising Mr. Paul DaSilva, (NY Nassau League) Chairman, Mr. Mascellus Bailey, (Metropolitan League) and Mr. Wesley King (Brooklyn League) was appointed by Regional Director Mr. Selwyn Caesar. Subsequently, Mr. Patrick Sutherland, (Brooklyn League), was appointed to coordinate the election process for and on behalf of the region, due to the unavailability of Mr. Wesley King, the region’s Secretary.
The election was originally set for April 24, 2011, that was subsequently changed to May 1, 2011. On March 19, 2011 Mr. Sutherland issued an advisory e-mail inviting applicants wishing to serve in the various positions on the regional board to submit their applications no later than April 16, 2011. Clearly the election committee thought that was enough time for anyone wishing to serve, to submit their application and resume.
It is reported that several individuals jumped at the opportunity to serve New York cricket and complied by honoring the request of the Elections Committee and its Coordinator Mr. Sutherland. It is believed that all the positions were accounted for by one or more interested persons. The Elections Committee set April 24, 2011 as the date when the candidates would be interviewed for the various positions however, the deadline for the submission of applications and resumes was suddenly extended to April 22, with interviews scheduled for April 26, 2011.
Why the deadline for applications was extended by almost one week and after applications were already received for every position? Well according to the region’s Secretary Mr. King, he is being blamed for creating confusion by circulating the USACA elections timeline for regional and national elections. One fails to see how the two issues may have been confused with each other, or the Secretary could be blamed for any confusion, unless the confusion was deliberately created as a smoke screen for the dastardly act about to be inflicted upon the New York cricket stakeholders, and those enthusiastic individuals who have already tossed their hats into the ring.
Is it fair to have extended the deadline for applications? You be the judge based on the following facts –
Mr. Paul DaSilva, Chairman of the Elections Committee and principal architect of the timeframe and deadlines for applications and interviews, has single-handily extended the deadline, with the support of the Regional Director Mr. Selwyn Caesar, and…Whoa! Mr. DaSilva, according to reports, has inserted himself as a candidate for the position of Regional Representative.
According to the other member of the committee Mr. Mascellus Bailey, “I first heard of the extension at the same time as everyone else. I was not consulted, nor was my opinion sought. Not a phone call or anything. Now, I am being told that publicly I am linked to extending the deadline.” The Metropolitan League president added, “I have absolutely nothing to do with the extension of the deadline for applications, and I don’t agree with it. I would’ve agreed if there were positions still open and no one had applied by the April 16 deadline set.”
Calls to Mr. DaSilva have gone unanswered, despite a request for a return call from this writer.
Dickens’ cryptic message of “Recalled to Life” is an eerily symbolic notion of Mr. Paul DaSilva being unearthed, dusted off, and self-imposingly thrust upon the NYCR leagues as their representative on the USACA board. According to one league president, Mr. DaSilva has often failed to attend regional meetings, field teams for inter-league or The Mayor’s Cup matches, and pulled down the region’s web site in an unceremonious manner, thus denying the region an opportunity to showcase itself.
It is alleged that several persons from Mr. DaSilva’s league have now thrown their hats into the ring after he extended the deadline for applications. Self-serving, you ask?
The Regional Director Mr. Selwyn Caesar was gracious enough to return my call to him, and he expressed surprise that no league president had contacted him regarding protesting the extension of the application deadline, nor the fact that the Elections Committee Chairman had inserted himself into the race for Regional Representative. Mr. Caesar stated, “I did not anticipate Paul entering the race, nor did he discuss same with me. If so, I would have given him a different direction prior to the application, and not to run,” adding, “The inclusion of Paul DaSilva into the race, is a personal concern of mine and it bothers me.”
When pressed on whether he was in agreement with the extension, Mr. Caesar said yes, because he was a part of that decision, adding, “The elections should go forward as dictated by the extension process, since no league president has contacted me regarding any protest.”
The question one is tempted to ask here is, “Was the league presidents or other members of the regional administration consulted on extending the deadline for applications?” The answer is blatantly obvious, since not even the other member of the Elections Committee was consulted, not even by a phone call.
In direct contrast to Mr. Caesar’s claim of being unaware of any protests from the league presidents, there appears to be a united front against the electoral process now employed by the Chairman of the Elections Committee and the Regional Director, along with Mr. Sutherland the Elections Committee Coordinator/Secretary.
I contacted Mr. Sutherland earlier today for a response to the issue and he advised me that the decision to extend the deadline for applications was, “…made by the Elections Committee.” When asked if that included himself, he stated that he was only the Secretary and had nothing to do with the decision. I informed Mr. Sutherland that Mr. Bailey had denied any connection with the extension of the deadline; therefore it was safe to assume that the decision was solely Mr. DaSilva’s. Mr. Sutherland asked if it was possible to consult his notes and to get back to me shortly. I have not heard from Mr. Sutherland since.
President of the Commonwealth League, Lesly Lowe stated, “It’s absurd what’s going on. I am appalled by the situation. This election process is being run by someone who does not have this region at heart and does not attend regional meetings, and he is now running to represent the region.”
Mr. Milford Lewis, President of the New York Cricket League said, “The USACA time line was forced upon us, however, I did not have a problem with it, and it is obvious we are not following that anyway.” He however stated that, “As a member of the regional administration, I was not privy to any discussion regarding the extension of the application process, and only saw it when I received an e-mail stating that the deadline was extended.”
When contacted, Mr. Wesley King, NYCR’s Secretary was very disturbed by the claims made by the Regional Director Mr. Caesar, which blamed him (Mr. King) for creating the confusion regarding the election timeline. He said, “As Secretary, I distributed the information to the entire regional administration, because it came from USACA, so I don’t see how I can be blamed for doing that.”
Mr. King went on to express his dissatisfaction regarding the extension of the deadline for applications, stating, “The Elections Committee should have contacted the league presidents before extending the deadline,” adding, “It (the deadline) should only have been extended if there were no applicants/candidates for one or more of the positions.”
Eastern American Cricket Association President Rudy Persaud said that the process was corrupt and, “It’s not fair to those candidates who have already applied by the original deadline of April 16, and set by the Elections Committee. There was no confusion about the USACA dates and the Regional Director did not ask the league presidents if they were confused.” He added, “I was not in agreement with moving the application deadline and I was very surprised. However, I was advised by Mr. Sutherland that it was the Elections Committee’s decision.” Mr. Persaud went on to say, “I now know that Mr. Bailey was not a part of the decision to extend the applications deadline.”
Mr. Persaud said that it appears as though the lame-duck Regional Director (Mr. Caesar) who is not seeking reelection is uninterested in what happens within the region, as he is on his way out. He cited a recent invitation to the NYCR from the Office of the Mayor of New York and the New York City Parks Department to attend a meeting to plan the 2011 Mayor’s Cricket Cup and Mr. Caesar declined on the basis that he would not be around this year, during The Mayor’s Cup.
NYCR’s Regional Representative to the USACA board Mr. Krish Prasad, a candidate for the same position in the upcoming election said, that when he heard about the deadline being extended, he contacted his league president (Rudy Persaud) and the Regional Secretary (Wesley King), both of whom said they were not privy to the decision and could not offer him a plausible explanation. Mr. Prasad added, “It appears to me as though many of the regional administration members are being kept in the dark, and I am concerned that there are individuals outside of the NYCR, seeking to influence the outcome of the elections.”
I spoke with two of the candidates contesting the regional elections and who submitted their applications prior to the original deadline of April 16, 2011. Both responded on the condition of anonymity, stating that the deadline extension appears to have been engineered to accommodate a group of people seeking to control the NYCR. Both candidates unequivocally stated that it was unfair to them and the other candidates who submitted their applications on time, before the “mystery” (according to one of them) extension appeared. The confusion appears to surround the candidates and the regional administrators, all except for Mr. Caesar and Mr. DaSilva.
If only Charles Dickens was still around, he may have very well wondered what the dickens was happening in the New York Cricket Region. Is it a tale of two cities? On one side the power grabbers and on the other side, the hapless cricketers and other stakeholders.