Nat­u­ral jus­tice goes for Dave Cameron, too

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION -

THIS NEWS­PA­PER isn’t en­am­oured of Dave Cameron. In fact, we felt that he had long over­stayed his time when, 14 months ago, he lost the pres­i­dency of Cricket West Indies (CWI) to Ricky Skerritt, af­ter six years in the post. Mr Cameron was too ar­ro­gant by half.

We, how­ever, be­lieve in fair­ness and nat­u­ral jus­tice, in­clud­ing for Dave Cameron. In that re­gard, de­cency de­mands that CWI should, forth­with, cause Mr Cameron to re­ceive a copy of the au­dit of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s man­age­ment and op­er­a­tions dur­ing Mr Cameron’s ten­ure, which was done by the in­ter­na­tional con­sult­ing firm Pan­nell Kerr Foster (PKF). The cricket board’s and its pres­i­dent’s un­seemly dither­ing on the mat­ter ap­pears, from this dis­tance, de­signed to hang and quar­ter Mr Cameron by in­nu­endo. We want to be proved wrong.

Of course, it is any or­gan­i­sa­tion’s right and, in some cases, obli­ga­tion, to re­view how it han­dled its af­fairs in the past. That, some­times, re­quires a foren­sic probe of the con­duct of past man­agers. Usu­ally, though, es­pe­cially when ad­verse de­ter­mi­na­tions are likely to be made against the for­mer ex­ec­u­tives, they are given a chance to pro­vide ex­cul­pa­tory ex­pla­na­tions, and sup­port­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion, if these ex­ist, for their ac­tions or be­hav­iour.

Judg­ing from the re­port­ing on the PKF doc­u­ment, which was ap­par­ently leaked to jour­nal­ist(s) out­side the Caribbean, the con­sul­tants found much that was wrong, if not worse, with the fi­nan­cial man­age­ment and ac­count­abil­ity at CWI dur­ing Mr Cameron’s pres­i­dency.

There is noth­ing wrong with such a con­clu­sion if it is sup­ported by the facts.

In­deed, Mr Skerritt has said that CWI, the gov­ern­ing body for cricket in the Caribbean, will act on the re­port, which, he said, “un­cov­ered some il­lus­tra­tions of ques­tion­able ex­ec­u­tive stan­dards and prac­tices”.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Skerritt, the re­port was pre­pared for in­ter­nal use only, sug­gest­ing that he was un­aware of how it found its way into the pub­lic do­main.

What, how­ever, is sur­pris­ing about the af­fair is

Mr Cameron’s de­clared ig­no­rance of the PKF re­port un­til, he said, he was ap­proached by jour­nal­ists to comment on its find­ings. If Mr Cameron’s claim is true, he was ob­vi­ously not asked by PKF to ac­count for the “ques­tion­able ex­ec­u­tive stan­dards and prac­tices”. Nei­ther does it ap­pear that he was ap­proached, ei­ther by his suc­ces­sor or any cur­rent ex­ec­u­tive of CWI, to co­op­er­ate with the re­view. The ac­ri­mo­nious cam­paign between Mr Cameron and Mr Skerritt for the CWI pres­i­dency should not have pre­cluded such a re­quest, un­less his was to be, in part, a ‘gotcha’ ex­er­cise.

Mr Cameron, through his lawyers, has re­quested a copy of the PKF re­port, with­out prej­u­dice to any right of ac­tion for defama­tion or any other dam­age aris­ing from the doc­u­ments, or pub­lic com­ments thereon. But Dave Cameron’s pri­mary wish, the lawyers say, is to be able to re­spond to al­le­ga­tions made against him. Which, to us, seems fair.

OPEN TO SCRU­TINY

Mr Skerritt’s re­sponses are cu­ri­ous, es­pe­cially the one about need to seek per­mis­sion from PKF. We as­sume that it was in fact Mr Skerritt who com­mis­sioned the re­port; that PKF didn’t do the as­sign­ment gratis; and that own­er­ship of the doc­u­ment re­sides with the CWI. Fur­ther, there is Mr Skerritt’s story that he must await a full meet­ing of the CWI’s board for a de­ci­sion on Mr Cameron’s re­quest. That, at best, looks a ca­nard.

A pub­lic re­lease of the re­port, or hand­ing it to Mr Cameron, is fully within Mr Skerritt’s ex­ec­u­tive author­ity. Or, if re­quired, he could eas­ily round-robin di­rec­tors, rather than await a for­mal meet­ing a near fort­night later.

If there are is­sues for which Dave Cameron should be held to ac­count, in what­ever fora, we are all for it. Pub­lic of­fi­cials, which is what Mr Cameron was, must be open to scru­tiny, and any penal­ties – pub­lic op­pro­brium or oth­er­wise – which may flow from their “ques­tion­able … stan­dards and prac­tices”.

But nat­u­ral jus­tice re­quires that they have a fair shot at re­fut­ing the al­le­ga­tions – what­ever we may think about them.

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