By Neto Baptiste
Two government employed teachers and national cricketers whose requests for leave were turned down by the Public Service Commission (PSC) last month, have since had their applications approved and are set to take up one-year contractual duties with the Leeward Islands Cricket Board (LICB).
Nino Henry of New Winthorpes Lions and Tyrone Williams Jr who plays for Empire Nation, both received letters dated October 16 denying their requests for leave, citing a shortage of teachers during the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic.
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), Leon Rodney, confirmed that the players were granted the time following a resubmission of their applications.
“The precedence has been set already for a number of years and as I would have said in previous statements that we have never had an issue with getting time off to go and ply their trade at the Leeward Islands and West Indies level,” he said.
“It’s always an understanding that even with the time off that they were paid. However, I am sure that a lot of us understand that in this COVID times when things have changed but at the end of the day once you get the time I think that is the most important thing, to make the best use of what they can do,” he added.
News emerged in June this year that the duo had been drafted by the sub-regional cricket board for the 20020/20 CWI professional season.
However, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, plans regarding the regional competitions have been somewhat sketchy with Cricket West Indies stating they could host the Super50 tournament early next year.
Rodney said the players were pleased with the news although hinting they may have to do so without pay.
“I know there were still some issues about whether the leave would be with pay or without pay but I had personally said to them from the onset and after I got the correspondence that it is best they just get the time off. They will be paid by Leeward Islands.
“I know that in this COVID period they are probably taking half pay but at the end of the day everybody has been hit hard in this COVID period and I just think it is necessary for us to understand that things have changed. They are glad for the time off and I am sure that somewhere along the line the government will see it fit to revisit the payment situation,” he said. According to reports, the CWI Super 50 will start in February 2021 and could be held in one country.