Upon assuming office in April 2019, just over a year ago; in keeping with our theme of ‘Cricket First’, and promises of governance reform and financial transparency, the new Cricket West Indies (CWI) president and vice-president (with the support of the directors of CWI) immediately undertook the process of seeking to systematically address and rectify several areas across the organisation which we believed were cause for concern.
One of the first three of these actions was the review of the CWI team selection system, which was successfully undertaken by a task force led by the vice-president, which commenced in May, over a three-month period.
Simultaneously, the accounting and management consulting firm of Pannell Kerr Forster (PKF) was engaged for a six-month period to conduct a business situation assessment and review of the organisation’s financial management systems, and to provide recommendations for addressing any shortcomings.
Additionally, and not long after, another task force was established, led by Senator Don Wehby. The remit of that task force was to review the governance system and practices of the organisation, and to make recommendations to address any needed reforms. The final Wehby governance reform report is expected to come to hand in the near future.
In carrying out its assessments, PKF uncovered some illustrations of questionable executive standards and practices. It verified and emphasised the need for drastic operational reorganisation and realignment, with an urgent need for improved risk assessment and cash flow management. The PKF consultants accordingly presented their report in person to the CWI Board of Directors in December, and their 28 recommendations were unanimously adopted. Publishing the document was never considered by the board, as the report is an internal report.
Accordingly, CWI has since been in the process of implementing those recommendations as swiftly as we are able, and several of these recommendations have already been fully incorporated into the organisation’s day-to-day operations, including:
• reinforcing the president’s role as non-executive chairman of the board, with responsibility for strategic policy and governance, while empowering and supporting the CEO and his management team with full responsibility for all operational aspects of the organisation;
• realigning the organisation’s leadership, reporting, and functional structure to enhance accountability and re-establish clear lines of authority and responsibility;
• strengthening internal controls and ensuring timely reconciliation and reporting of all accounts;
• modifying fundamental management practices to ensure transparency and best practices;
• discontinuing the operations of the executive committee of the board;
• reporting to the board on a timely basis the accurate financial situation.
Since the adoption of the PKF report six months ago, numerous references to the existence of the report have been made in media statements and interviews by the CWI CEO, vice-president, and myself. I can confidently assure you that at no time was there any decision taken by the board or anyone associated with CWI to “hide”, “conceal”, “withhold” or “hold back” the PKF report. However, in light of the apparent recent access to some of its contents by the media, the CWI Board will now have to contemplate whether it may be appropriate at this time for the report to be shared publicly.
In closing, I want to assure all stakeholders of West Indies cricket that whether the PKF report is made public or not, CWI will not be distracted from correcting, and learning from, any identifiable missteps or shortcomings of the past. I am determined as the president of this board to ensure that CWI conducts its business with integrity, accountability and transparency — and without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.
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The former Mr. Wendy Phipps
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