Former national cricketer Julian Charles is the new president of the Saint Lucia National Cricket Association (SLNCA) defeating the incumbent Carol Henry 9-5 at the polls held last Saturday.
Other members of the executive are as follows: Dave Albert, 1st Vice President; Densely Anthony, 2nd Vice President; Roseline Preville, 3rd Vice President; John Estaphane, Principal Secretary; Esther Theophane, Secretary and Celestine Laurent, Treasurer.
Charles and his team will serve a two-year term (2021- 2023).
Charles after his win stated that delegates recognised a need for change for the sport to move forward, hence the reason they elected him.
This is the third time in two weeks delegates went to the polls to elect a president for the Association.
“On November 27th the results ended 8/8 on two occasions, so we went back and campaigned again for the next two weeks. There was some shift in positions which meant that I won today.” said Charles.
“I am grateful, and I look forward to working with my team and all those who want to see cricket grow and develop,” he added.
According to Charles, “We have a very dynamic team, people who want to assist. We also have a solid Board of Management’ every district is represented by two individuals, and they are very dedicated.”
“We want our affiliates to play more cricket and that has been part of the issues. I want cricketers to be on the field every week. We have had so many issues with the maintenance of playing fields and lark of practice areas, so this is an area I will be focusing on to ensure that we get our fields in good condition. I also would like to see the aspect of preparing wickets become less labour intensive. You get pitches not prepared properly, we will have to lobby as much as we can for mechanical rollers for all the districts,” the new president said.
He added, “We want to ensure fields are maintained and each facility has a practice net. For you to get better, you have to practice. Yes, it’s ok to play cricket, but a lot of people want to make a living out of cricket. Most youngsters, they look to the stars all over the world and they want to be like them, but to get like them they need to have the opportunities and that is why it is important we give them the very best because they will be competing against the best in the world. We are going to try and get more access to the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground (DSCG) so it becomes like a home ground for our players.”
Said Charles, “We want to reach out more to the affiliates, The way the SLNCA is supposed to run is that affiliates are responsible for organising/running their domestic cricket within their respective district. Over the years we realise we would have to go into the districts to give them the help to get their cricket off the ground, which includes their elite programmes. This is an area the SLNCA will be paying more emphasis on, so when you have a youngster who make the Windwards team at any level, boys / girls we can put them in special training and ensure they get to that level to go and represent the West Indies and play international cricket.”
Charles spoke of the SLNCA focusing on the elite athlete in terms of putting them in an academy to improve their career.
“We want to work closely with the various stakeholders to include the Government, Corporate Saint Lucia, and Parents in particular to ensure these players have every opportunity to excel. Cricket is big business, there are so many opportunities out there for these players to make a good living out of something they love to do,” Charles said.
Speaking on upcoming competitions Charles said a final decision has not been made regarding a 50 overs competition which was supposed to begin in January.
“We will look at this and decide whether it will be 50 overs or a two-day competition. We are also looking at starting the year with a T20 tournament just to give a hype to bowl off the New Year. These matters will be handled by the SLNCA 1st Vice President, Dave Albert who is all set and ready to put cricketers on the field and develop their grassroots programme,” Charles said.
The newly elected president took time to congratulate Ackeem Auguste who will lead the West Indies Under-19 Rising Stars in the ICC Under-19 World Cup in January. Auguste will have alongside him another Saint Lucian, right arm fast bowler, Mc Kenney Clarke.
“These are two very fine prospects indeed, and these are the kind of things which made me want to contribute to cricket development. We have six players who made the West Indies Under-16 side and to move from the Under-16 to Under-19 is one level, but from Under-19 to first class cricket it’s a much bigger jump. We are looking forward to Ackeem and Clarke to do tremendously well in the upcoming world cup next month,” Charles said.