By John L. Aaron
Mr. Gladstone Dainty, President of the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA), last night visited with the New York Cricket Region (NYCR), at the invitation of Regional Director Mr. Lester Hooper. There were several New York cricket stakeholders in attendance, along with the region’s Representative to the USACA board Mr. Krish Prasad and USACA’s Executive Secretary Mr. John Aaron.
The meeting was requested by the region’s director to give the national organization’s president an opportunity to update the region on several issues of importance to the region’s stakeholders, including national elections, funding promised earlier this year during a “Town-hall style” meeting, and the future of USA cricket.
However, the beleaguered Dainty only exposed his weak underbelly, inability to exercise good-governance and his poor leadership of USACA, when responding to questions posed by league presidents and others at the meeting. In response to the Regional Director’s query regarding USACA’s national elections, president Dainty stated that a Compliance Review process was expected to be implemented shortly to determine which leagues nationally would be allowed to participate in the upcoming USACA elections. Dainty acknowledged that the USACA board had set a national election date of October 15 this year, but the elections was more likely to be held the first week in November.
Secretary Aaron pointed out the improbability of that occurring, by drawing a timeline to suggest that the process as outlined in the organization’s Constitution, as well as the proposed open-ended compliance review initiative, both of which would obviously require more time than the president’s ambitious date of the first week in November. This argument was supported by league president Paul DaSilva, who said he too doubted elections could be held before the end of 2011. The latter later objected to the meeting discussing what he perceived to be USACA issues only. However, Secretary Aaron pointed out to the meeting that what affects USACA also affects the regions and by extension the leagues.
In Aaron’s time-line he noted that the law firm retained by Mr. Dainty, treasurer Thickett and a few members of the board, had asked the entire board to respond to the proposed Compliance Review by September 15, noting that there was not enough time between when the actual Compliance Review is sent out to the leagues, responses compiled and reviewed, time allowed for presumably corrective action by those leagues deemed to be non-compliant and to respond, the nomination process, balloting, and the actual verification of the election process, between now and the first week in November 2011.
President Dainty, on several occasions in reference to actions taken at the national level, used the pronoun “we,” when explaining some actions taken and affecting USACA, in particular the appointment of a law firm to conduct the proposed Compliance Review. When asked by league president Rudy Persaud what or whom he meant by “we”? President Dainty, replied, “By ‘we,’ I mean USACA’s Treasurer John Thickett, a few board members and myself,” openly admitting that the entire USACA board was not being consulted or involved in the critical decision-making process of the organization. Mr. Dainty further went on to insult Mr. Persaud, by suggesting he (Persaud) was being used as a pawn by others to ask such questions, and further denigrated the league president by sarcastically suggesting Mr. Persaud was acting in a smart manner.
Secretary Aaron pointed out that there hardly would have been a need for the meeting if USACA held regular board meetings so that the region’s representative Krish Prasad could report back to his region, a point acknowledged by many in attendance, with the exception of Mr. Paul DaSilva, who rather quizzically inquired whether Mr. Prasad had told anyone. Mr. Prasad chided Mr. DaSilva for being absent from regional meetings and activities, while informing those in attendance that president Dainty had made a concerted effort to exclude the organization’s secretary and many of the board members from the decision-making process. A point Secretary Aaron amplified by explaining his involuntary removal from receiving the organization’s bank statements, explaining that president Dainty had instructed treasurer Thickett to remove his (Aaron’s) name and address from the bank’s records of where to mail hard copies of USACA’s transaction statements, in contradiction to an earlier decision taken at a meeting of the USACA board. President Dainty stated that he unilaterally made that decision based on his concerns of the friendship that existed between the secretary and the treasurer of USACA.
Clearly, such a basis for the president’s decision questions the integrity of the two nationally-elected officers, and their abilities to serve the organization with transparency and honesty. More so that of treasurer Thickett, who has been intimately involved in the recently signed Cricket Holdings America (CHA), LLC agreement, and handles thousands of dollars and other financial transactions on behalf of USACA.
Secretary Aaron could certainly not impact such transactions, merely from being privy to the in-flow and out-flow of the organization’s finances. Is there reason to conceal such information from the organization’s executive secretary, by president Dainty and/or treasurer Thickett?
Mr. Dainty side-stepped questions regarding the amount of money received to-date from the CHA, LLC deal, stating that current negative e-mails and other comments floating around were hampering the acquisition of investors. Secretary Aaron interjected that such public discourses would not have been necessary, had Mr. Dainty observed basic democratic processes and protocols, and in the best interests of USACA. President Dainty, however stated that he was optimistic that two or three investors were close to responding positively to the LLC, adding, USACA had spent more than $600,000 on tournaments this year alone, while never answering the question posed earlier by the regional director, Mr. Lester Hooper.
Secretary Aaron pointed out that the majority of board members and himself, were not privy to how the remaining amount of money – supposedly $850,000 – $1,100,000 received by USACA during the past year was spent, a point echoed by NYCR’s Krish Prasad, who said in the absence of information from the organization’s treasurer or president Dainty, or financial reports presented at board meetings, he, like many other Regional Representatives, was not au fait with USACA’s current financial position, nor in a position to report to their regions.
Mr. Prasad pointed out that Mr. Dainty had recently been informing several persons, including the New York region’s director, that he Prasad had received $8,000 in excess of the amount budgeted for the Under-19 training camp and the 2011 national women’s tournament hosted by the NYCR. Mr. Prasad produced copies of the budgeted amounts and supporting receipts and distributed same to those in attendance, while advising the meeting that the president had twice included the earlier amount of $8,000 deposited into the region’s account, suggesting the NYCR had received $23,000 in total, and was seeking to besmirch his name and to discredit the New York region. President Dainty, in response, stated that he was provided with the $23,000 figure by USACA’s treasurer, again publicly demonstrating his inability to govern from an informed perspective, and/or seeking to mislead or misinform the cricketing public, while implying treasurer Thickett did not properly advise him.
Mr. Prasad noted that the organization’s web site was accessed and said expense report and supporting documents were inappropriately published on the World Wide Web, and it was a deliberate attempt to portray the region in a bad light, despite the accountability of every dollar. Mr. Prasad said he had no problem with the information being shared worldwide, but it should be done for every region hosting a national tournament or training camp.
Secretary Aaron stated that indeed the document was posted in an unauthorized manner to the site and not by him, while pointing out that the only person in possession of the site’s administrative passwords enabling such an unauthorized posting, was president Dainty, who subsequently admitted that he had given the passwords to USACA’s interim 2nd VP Rafey Syed, who he added was now in the process of redoing the web site. Secretary Aaron pointed out that many decisions involving administrative and financial transactions were being executed without approval of the board as the policy-making arm of USACA, and that president Dainty was only too willing to admit that he, in many cases was unilaterally making such decisions, and outside the realm of the USACA Constitution. Mr. Aaron pointed out to the meeting that such actions were indicative of the dictatorial-style and poor leadership of USACA by the organization’s president on a regular basis, and done outside of not having an in-person board meeting during the past ten months.
Mr. Aaron informed those in attendance that the attitude of the president was a clear indication of Mr. Dainty’s efforts to deny them (the NYCR) proper representation, by denying the individual they elected to represent them, participation in the decision-making process, by not holding an in-person board meeting since November 2010, to adequately address issues in an in depth manner. President Dainty stated that the board had a meeting as recent as April this year, to which Secretary Aaron responded that it was not a fully constituted board meeting but a conference call to discuss the appointment of directors to the CHA, LLC board and Elections, the latter item resulting in the surprisingly unannounced appointment of the two interim vice presidents to the USACA board.
President Dainty claimed that Secretary Aaron failed to provide Minutes of seven board meetings, adding however, that he now had copies of those “Minutes” in his possession. Secretary Aaron responded that it spoke volumes of president Dainty’s inept leadership to allow seven meetings of the board to be held without the presentation of Minutes, before complaining. The USACA secretary stated for the record that there has never been a USACA in-person meeting where Minutes of the previous meeting was not properly distributed and presented, prior to the meeting. He added, what president Dainty was referring to, and was in possession of, are the documented notes from the teleconferences like the one held on April 29 last, adding that by the president’s own admission they were not formal meetings.
Krish Prasad, in referring to last night’s NYCR meeting with president Dainty, stated, “This meeting was a waste of time, because the president came here with a bunch of lies and was seeking to be divisive.” It was apparent very early on in the meeting that president Dainty did not come to the meeting prepared to respond to legitimate questions posed, but instead to confront his critics or those not deemed Dainty-friendly. He had earlier expressed to the region’s director, Mr. Lester Hooper, that he was only interested in meeting with the region’s director and the region’s league presidents, not the region’s representative to the USACA board Mr. Krish Prasad and USACA’s Executive Secretary John Aaron, both of whom reside in the New York region, prompting Mr. Aaron to state at the end of the meeting, that if the president was willing to lie in the presence of the two members of his board, what would he have said in their absence?
League president Rudy Persaud later said he felt humiliated by president Dainty response to him (Persaud) asking pertinent questions on behalf of the other league presidents,” adding, “The man insulted me by suggesting I couldn’t think for myself, and he’s the same person who called seeking my help in obtaining the support of other league presidents in 2008, when he was seeking the USACA presidency.”
President Dainty appeared ruffled at times and was explosive when challenged for answers by many of those present. League President Mascelles Bailey remarked that if the exchanges between the USACA president and those present, was any indication of the state of cricket in this country, then the sport was certainly in a whole lot of trouble.
At times, president Dainty was praiseworthy of the cricketing efforts of the NYCR, while at other times he appeared rattled by questions raised, either rambling in his responses or combative with those seeking answers. It was hardly a statesman-like performance.
In summation, president Dainty’s attendance at the meeting at times appeared to be tantamount to a filibuster, as he used up a lot of time in his opening soliloquy about the 1865 Mary Mapes Dodge’s Hans Brinker story of a little Dutch boy who placed his finger in a dike, and other irrelevant monologues during the meeting, all before exiting the meeting after spending less that 90 minutes and leaving a lot of unanswered questions, but promising to return next week, presumably on the weekend when he would have more time to address the concerns of the region. Ironically, that’s the weekend (September 24) that seven members of the USACA board had agreed to attend a meeting of the board and in New York, a date president Dainty had suggested, then quickly changed to October 1st. No doubt, why so many in New York and other parts of the country doubt whether president Dainty really wants to hold a USACA in-person board meeting, or for that matter national elections, anytime soon. It is left to be seen whether president Dainty would pay another presidential visit to New York next week.
One would imagine that a Presidential visit to a USACA region would have contained less combative rhetoric and more substantive cooperative solutions, or a well-defined vision by a leader, willing to move cricket forward in this country. However, president Dainty’s visit and insulting demeanor to some of those present, was anything but presidential, as he clearly showed his weak underbelly side as a leader, and his inability to democratically govern an organization such as the United States of America Cricket Association.