By Neto Baptiste
Two of the country’s budding cricketers have had their requests for “special leave” denied by the Public Service Commission (PSC) as they seek to take up offers of one year contracts with the Leeward Islands Cricket Board (LICB).
The two national players, Nino Henry of New Winthorpes Lions and Tyrone Williams Jr who players 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, said the body is aware of the development and will move to open dialogue with the relevant persons within the Ministry of Education in hopes of getting the matter resolved.
“Obviously, we will be making a few calls to see how well they could make some adjustments or give some reconsideration of assisting the guys, because that has been a vehicle from ever since I’ve known that the guys who work in the ministry as PE teachers or coaches, whenever they get contracted to Leewards or West Indies and anything like that, they are given the time to do so, because it is representation at the highest level. So, I’ve heard it and we are trying to assist,” he said.
News emerged in June this year that the duo had been drafted by the sub-regional cricket board for the 2020/21 CWI professional season.
However, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, plans regarding the regional competitions have been somewhat sketchy with CWI stating they could host the Super50 tournament early next year.
Rodney said this is the first time the body has had issues with securing leave for any player.
“The reality is that we have never had any issues with anyone being denied those sorts of requests. Let us understand that representing the Leewards is a very serious thing because if these guys are not given the opportunity to go and play for Leewards, then obviously you know how that goes, you’d see a Leewards team and you’d hear somebody saying that there are no Antiguans in the team,” he said.
Efforts to reach the players for comment proved futile. The Director of Education, Clare Browne, offered no comment on the matter.