COM­MEN­TA­TOR FILES SUIT OVER EYE­SIGHT COM­MENTS

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

TONY CO­ZIER, the voice of Caribbean cricket, is su­ing pres­i­dent of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Why­cliffe “Dave” Cameron for defama­tion.

Co­zier, an icon of broad­cast cricket com­men­tary for more than 50 years, is headed to court and seek­ing dam­ages for defama­tion over words used by Cameron last May 22 dur­ing a meet­ing at the Cave Hill Cam­pus of the Univer­sity of the West Indies.

Co­zier, 75, full name Win­ston An­thony Lloyd Co­zier, has en­gaged the ser­vices of Queen’s Coun­sel Peter Sym­monds.

At that meet­ing last May, Cameron is pur­ported to have said: “There is no ban on Mr Co­zier. The chal­lenge is Mr Co­zier has got­ten to an age – and ev­ery­one needs to agree, that he is not ac­tu­ally see­ing very well any­more. And we are be­ing very, very frank about that.

“It has noth­ing to do with him as a per­son. And we don’t be­lieve the qual­ity of the com­men­tary ben­e­fits from hav­ing him on tele­vi­sion. He still con­tin­ues to do ra­dio.”

Speak­ing on a tele­phone link-up from Ja­maica, the 46-year-old Cameron, who has been chief ad­min­is­tra­tor of the WICB since 2013, told the WEEKENDSPORT he was not go­ing on the back foot.

“I have no in­ten­tion of back­ing down,” he said. “I am not afraid of go­ing to court. I am not go­ing to set­tle. It is less about the money. It is about the prin­ci­ple. I have not done any­thing wrong. Let it go through the courts.”

Both Cameron and Co­zier have seem­ingly been at odds over the past few years. Two years ago, the WICB, over which Cameron pre­sides, ter­mi­nated Co­zier’s con­trac­tual ar­range­ment to com­men­tate on re­gional cricket.

Cameron said his fo­cus was on the de­vel­op­ment of West Indies’ cricket. “I do not have any­thing per­sonal against Tony Co­zier or Michael Hold­ing. I am seek­ing to re­build the crick­et­ing in­dus­try in the West Indies and try­ing to take it to the next level. This is­sue is not about my per­ceived in­tran­si­gence or ar­ro­gance, but about other things,” he said.

Co­zier has com­mented and writ­ten for some of the world’s lead­ing en­ti­ties and net­works such as ESPN, Chan­nel Nine (Aus­tralia), Su­per­sport (South Africa), The In­de­pen­dent (Eng­land) and In­dian Ex­press. Sym­monds de­scribed the episode as un­for­tu­nate and re­gret­table. “Co­zier is a world renowned broad­cast jour­nal­ist, who has never been the sub­ject of ad­verse com­ment on the state of his eye­sight or his age. He was good enough to work for the BBC broad­cast com­men­tary team last year,” he said.

Sym­monds is no stranger to crick­et­ing mat­ters head­ing to court. In 1988, he rep­re­sented St Cather­ine suc­cess­fully against the Bar­ba­dos Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion (BCA) re­gard­ing the 1987 con­tro­ver­sial last se­ries Divi­sion 1 match be­tween the St Philip-based club and Po­lice. That match was ruled a node­ci­sion by the BCA when Po­lice pulled off an out­right vic­tory af­ter the first two days were washed out be­cause of rain. The two cap­tains had agreed to de­clare their first in­nings af­ter one over.

Vet­eran Com­men­ta­tor Tony Co­zier.

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