By Sam Sooppersaud
It is the right of the constituents to know what their elected officials are doing. Period. This is one of the main essences of democracy.
We elect persons in positions to represent us. We expect them to do the things that will further the agenda of the policies that will help to move our programs forward. They are not elected to positions of trust and responsibility to serve their own means. Neither are they there to further their own personal agendas.
With those opening comments, I will exhort our elected officials at USACA to talk to us. There have been numerous situations and matters where I felt that the general cricketing public deserved an answer or an explanation from one or more Executive Board members of USACA. If nothing else, but to put at ease anxious cricket lovers. Also, talking to us will enlighten us as to why certain actions were taken or not taken. All we need from our elected cricket official on the Board of USACA are some answers. We do not expect to be informed on every little day-to-day decisions but on important policy matters we should be kept in the know. I don’t think this is too much to ask.
I will now recall a few instances when USACA’s officials could have made some comments to “straighten” things out.
On December 9, 2010, Dreamcricket.com reported on an interview Peter Della Penna (PDP) had with President Gladstone Dainty of USACA. In reply to a question by PDP, Mr. Dainty said, “We made lots of strides…” without giving specifics as to what strides USACA has made. In the same interview PDP remarked to the president, “I know all the people here would have noticed that Don Lockerbie’s not here. Why is he not here?” Dainty’s answer was, “Well, I’m sure you got a press release from the secretary that Don and us have parted ways…” Hey, Mr. President, PDP asked why Don Lockerbie was not at the meeting. He did not ask about any press release from the Secretary’s office. He wanted answers. He wanted to be able to report to the cricketing public the facts concerning Lockerbie’s parting from USACA. PDP insisted, “Why, was this a mutual thing or why is he no longer part of the organization?” Dainty’s reply, “Well you know getting into details about personnel issues, that’s not my style and I don’t think that should be discussed, that’s personal…a confidential aspect that I won’t get into…” Well, pardon me, Mr. President, personal issues? Is USACA a privately owned, a personally owned corporation that you do not want to divulge personal issues? You have gotten rid of the CEO and you are saying that the shareholders (membership of USACA) around the country do not have a right to know? Preposterous!
Dr. Sham Samaroo of OnDriveupdate has written an “Open Letter” to Mr. Dainty asking for several items of information, which the membership has a right to know. The president chose to ignore the requests for explanations.
The 1st Vice President of USACA resigned his post. He later gave the reasons for tendering his resignation. Nabeel Ahmed declared that committees charged with certain responsibilities are dragging their feet when dealing with important matters coming before them. These USACA committees gave the impression that they care less what’s happening. Mr. Ahmed stated categorically that despite his raising this issue several times, his pleas for action fell on deaf ears. USACA continued in its merry ways. My query is that if Nabeel was making a wrongful assessment of the Board, why then didn’t anyone from USACA come forward to rebut his statements? Maybe he was telling the truth!
OnDriveupdate has asked why certain Board members were reimbursed for travel abroad. I would not elaborate on the travel issue as this matter was fully addressed in several past articles. Why were executives reimbursed for trips that had nothing to do with the administration of cricket? OnDrive asked whether the Board approved these expenses. The president was asked to throw some light on this matter. To date he has not told us anything. Is the Treasury his, that he can approve whatever expenses he feels warrant reimbursement? I think not.
At a Board meeting during the Senior National Championship in Florida President Dainty bluntly refused to recognize the representative from the West Coast Region, Dr. Gangaram Singh. The West’s Regional Representative Raj Padhi had been recalled and Dr. Singh was sent up as the new representative for the region. A notice of this change was sent to USACA. Why was he not recognized? And to compound matters further, it was reported that Dainty got his Board to support his unconstitutional ruling. With the same breath the Board decided to split the West Region into two new regions, North West and South West. Don’t you suppose the shareholders (cricket fans) have the right to know why was Dr. Singh not recognized, and why the Board decided to split the West Region in to two new regions? To-date we have heard nothing on this from USACA.
In an Editorial on OnDrive on January 31, 2011, captioned “Good Old Boy’s Club,” the question was asked, “Could it be that Dainty’s Board may simply be indifferent to the fortunes of USA Cricket on the field? Or, are they too busy falling over each other to get in line for a paid position, or a handout? After all, USACA is now rolling in dough….” Let me quote a section of the Editorial: “Elsewhere, it is reported that Board member, Sheikh Manaf Mohamed, recently stepped down from his position of 2nd VP (an unpaid position) to assume the position of Operations Director – a paid position. Was this job ever advertised? How many candidates were interviewed? As a matter of fact, were there any interviews, or was this another of the Good Old Boy’s club appointment?” Is this what the Board is all about? Fortifying its members? We would like the Board to come out and tell us that it is not so. We would like to hear from Mr. Manaf Mohamed that this is not so.
I can continue on and on, to give a litany of situations in which USACA owed its shareholders a comment but failed to do so. However, I hope that I have conveyed the message to USACA that they need to let us, the cricket fans; the shareholders know what they are doing. I suggest that each region demands from their representative on the USACA Board an explanation of what’s going on. I will encourage my region, New York, to get some explanations from our two members on the USACA Board.
I have attempted to set forth the facts as objectively as possible. As usual not everyone will share my views. However, I will like to hear what my readers have to say concerning the views I have put forward. And of course, I will welcome comments from Board members.
If we are making great strides, as claimed by the president, how is it that China and not us was earmarked by ICC as one of the key nations on the ICC Strategic Plan 2011-15? Had we (USACA) done what we were supposed to do we would have been one of those earmarked nations for development. This is what Andy Pick, ICC’s Americas Development Performance Officer had to say of the USA, “If I’m brutally honest, they (USA) have at the moment little framework beneath it to continue providing and developing their players.” He pointed to the glaring disservice done to Ryan Corns, winner of the ICC Tournament MVP Award in the Canada ICC Qualifier in 2009. Now if Mr. Pick was wrong, why didn’t the USACA Board come out and say so? Guess the man is only stating the facts!
In the WCL Division 3 Tournament just recently concluded in Hong Kong we placed sixth in a field of six. We included a 46-year-old coach in a playing XI, in preference to three much younger players who were selected in the squad and who were warming the bench. Our captain was charged and convicted for “showing dissent to an umpiring decision.” Several of our players were accused of putting on lackadaisical performances. There were a plethora of things that went wrong, yet no word to us from USACA. No word of comfort or explanation from USACA.
How long are we to endure the abuse of power and trust by the members of the Executive Board of USACA. I exhort them to exercise their mandate for the good of cricket and the cricket loving public.
To my fellow cricket lovers around the country, I’ll say this: Let us all continue to work diligently in the cause of improving our cricket in whichever form we are able to. If this means, “Calling a spade, a spade,” then so be it. All I ask is that we keep on top of what’s happening. Keep a sharp memory.
The views expressed here are those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of www.newyorkcricket.com