Courtney Browne, Eldine Baptiste file suit against CWI for unfair dismissal

By May 06, 2019

Courtney Browne and Eldine Baptiste have filed suit against Cricket West Indies citing unfair dismissal from their jobs as West Indies selectors effective March 31, 2019.

Browne, a former Windies wicketkeeper, had been a member of the West Indies Selection Panel since 2010; Baptiste since 2014. Browne was being paid an annual salary of USD$71,000 with an annual telephone allowance of USD$6000. Baptiste was afforded a salary of USD$51,600 with an annual telephone allowance of USD$3600.

Both men were also entitled to a gratuity calculated at 10 per cent of their base salaries. According to a letter their attorneys – Thomas, John and Company that was addressed to Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave, informing of the suit, both men claimed they had no other source of income and were financially dependent on the CWI.

The men said they received letters from the CWI on April 10, 2019, in which it was said that a task force was being established to review the selection system at all levels and that the task force was to make their recommendations to the board at their next meeting in June 2019.

However, without the task force having met, or made any recommendations to the board, they were informed that the selection panel was dissolved and that their services would not be required after March 31, 2019.

The letter to the CWI stated that the men do not accept the termination of their contracts of service “in accordance with the laws and particularly the Labour Code of Antigua and Barbuda on the grounds that notwithstanding the references to contractor and independent contractor in their respective contracts,” Browne and Baptiste, “were clearly employees under the Labour Code within the definition of employee and not independent contractors. Therefore they enjoyed the right under the Antigua Labour Law not to be unfairly dismissed.”

The lawyers for the plaintiffs also said their clients were and are not in business of their own and were not contracted as persons carrying on separate businesses but as persons required to personally perform their services under the contracts, and they could not under any circumstances subcontract or delegate any of their contractual services to any other person.

And, as it relates to their competency, the lawyers drew reference to evaluations that their clients were subjected to during their tenure. The evaluation forms referred to the men as “employees”.

In the most recent evaluations done in 2018, Browne was determined to be ‘excellent’ in the execution of his responsibilities by Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams, for “strict and uncompromising adherence to robust ethical ideals”.  Adams, in reference to Browne, was quoted in the evaluation as saying “He exhibits a high level of integrity in all he does.”

Baptiste was given the grade “Good” in his evaluation.

The lawyers representing the players claim that their clients believe that their termination was in part the result the CWI president’s inferences that they, Browne and Baptiste, were “part and parcel of and/or executed the old embedded selection policy which secretly, but actively victimized some players and banished them from selection consideration.”

Those “expressly and implicitly false” allegations from the president, the lawyers claim, were damaging to their clients.

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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