Riley dismisses Garner challenge to retain BCA presidency

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Incumbent Barbados Cricket Association president Conde Riley easily saw off a challenge from legendary former West Indies fast bowler Joel Garner on Thursday night to secure a second term at the helm of the body.

In a highly anticipated showdown at Kensington Oval, Riley defeated Garner 198 to 112 votes, saying afterwards that his vision for the BCA had been at the core of the overwhelming support from the body.

“It was about hard work, a vision, a really large vista especially for our youth cricket,” said Riley, a retired investment banker who had been proposed by National Hero and cricket legend Sir Garfield Sobers.

Riley spent several years as vice-president during Garner’s tenure as BCA president from 2007 to 2017, before assuming the top post when Garner took up the post of Windies team manager.

He said his first term in charge had been a productive one, focused on resolving two major matters before the board.

“Once I had the opportunity to be president and to run the organisation and solve two issues that were the subject of qualified opinions by the auditors,” Riley explained.

“The $15 million debt by Kensington Development Corporation and to bring CAGE (Caribbean Gaming Enterprise) to the table along with the government to work out a settlement, that was the significant difference in the two years.”

Riley said the election had been unfortunately framed as a confrontation between Garner and himself, but stressed the two continued to enjoy a healthy relationship.

“Some people pitched this thing about Riley against Garner. It never would be,” Riley pointed out.

“We have been friends since 1967 playing Ronald Tree (Under-15) cricket. I know I can call on Joel to help with fast bowlers. He has vast talents.”

Riley is widely regarded as an ally of former Cricket West Indies president Dave Cameron, and courted controversy when the BCA snubbed current CWI president Ricky Skerritt during the Kittitian’s campaign last March.

After Skerritt toppled Cameron in a shock result in Kingston, Riley pledged the BCA’s support but has since been openly critical of the new CWI administration.

He lambasted the decision to axe head coach Richard Pybus and his coaching staff along with the entire selection panel ahead of the ICC World Cup in England, claiming the decision would “destabilise the whole process”.

In response, Skerritt said Riley would “feel embarrassed” when he reflected on his comments. (CMC)

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