Stanford will be missed

The abrupt ending of Allen Stanford’s cash boost on West Indies cricket is going to hurt the regional side more than Cayman cricket.

That’s the view of Theo Cuffy, Cayman’s technical director, who like many was pleased to see Stanford’s largesse flood into the regional game.

Now that is all gone since Stanford’s multi-billion dollar operations seized last week under the suspicion that he has misappropriated the funds of tens of thousands of investors.

A number of West Indies players, including the world’s top batsman, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, were persuaded to invest their $1 million prize money from beating England in the 20/20 in November, in Stanford’s companies. They are unlikely ever to see that again.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission last week charged Stanford, 58, with fraudulently selling $8 billion in certificates of deposit with improbably high interest rates from his Stanford International Bank Ltd, headquartered in Antigua. Regulators in Antigua have seized Stanford’s banks and companies there.

Cuffy said: ‘Stanford came like a knight in shining armour and poured millions into cricket, which helped considerably. We all thought he was above board.

‘This will affect West Indies cricket more than here in the Cayman Islands. The West Indies Cricket Board said it was not dependent on Stanford’s contributions but I can’t see them organising their 20/20 competitions the way he used to, with all the razzamatazz.

‘Cayman was thankful for his funds but not totally reliant. Over three years we received over US$300,000 which is a good piece of money. That helped us to do a number of things.

‘That enabled us to do other things with money from the International Cricket Council, our annual Government grant and money from local sponsors like Cable & Wireless, Money Express and Clico Cayman.

‘We were able to spend on other programmes like administration and youth cricket.’

At least Cayman can feel proud that it has exemplary accounts, prepared by treasurer Ian Goodall.

‘Our books show that the Stanford money and all other monies were well utilised. We’ve been the trailblazers for accounting.

‘Our accounts were used as a template for others to follow. Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana were the most vocal complainers, saying Stanford owed them but they didn’t keep their accounts well. That’s why it was stopped for some months, because of non-compliance.’

How does Cuffy see Caribbean cricket going considering Stanford had become the largest donator because much corporate sponsorship has been lost in the economic downturn?

‘The big four – T&T, Barbados, Jamaica and Guyana – have their own structures with sponsors and funding but the smaller countries will feel the pinch.

‘They include those in the Windward and Leeward Islands. The state of the Antigua pitch which had to be abandoned for the second Test, is a prime example. No way should that ground have been used and that was clear even a month before.’

Will Stanford bounce back with his millions intact to throw at West Indies cricket? ‘I don’t think he’ll come back – nobody will trust him. He can’t walk around with pride anymore.’