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[Important Update: Soon after the publication of this article, USACA announced
today that the list of nominees for the regional administrations will
be released on March 19, 2011. The release also noted that ballots
must be returned by midnight on April 17, 2011 and results will be
published on April 19, 2011. For the positions of regional
representatives, the release also set a timeline of April 30, 2011 for
returning the ballots and May 2, 2011 for announcement of the results.]
USACA announced in January of 2011 that, following the split of the West into North West and South West regions, elections had been set for the respective regional administrations and regional representatives.
The USACA news release noted that balloting for the South West region was scheduled for February 7, 2011, following which the region was expected to elect its regional representative to the USA Cricket Association’s board on February 19, 2011. In the North West region, balloting was scheduled for February 12, 2011 and the election of the regional representative to the USA Cricket Association’s board was expected to be completed on Friday, February 25, 2011.
According to John Aaron, the Secretary of USACA, all nominations are expected to be finalized some time this week after undergoing the necessary background check. The process for determining eligibility of certain leagues needed additional time, explaining the delay in finalizing the nominations.
As readers are aware, the West region has gained five new members since national elections were last held in 2008 - four of these leagues are in the South West region and one in the North West region. The voting eligibility of the existing and new leagues was to be reviewed by a compliance committee comprising John Aaron, Lisa Brulport and Shelton Glasgow.
According to DreamCricket.com's sources, as part of this process, all leagues were asked to provide certain information such as name of league, names of teams/clubs, contacts for all teams/clubs, league bylaws, schedules, etc. The leagues' responses were audited by members of the committee, and according to Mr. Aaron, each member of the committee had been allocated review responsibilities for certain leagues, and it was based on the findings of the individual committee members that the committee determined the eligibility to vote.
On February 21, 2011, after an e-mailed letter by one of the region's leagues was made public on OnDriveUpdate.com, it became clear that the compliance process had encountered turbulence. In his letter, Faiz Ul Hasan, President of California Cricket League alleged that his league was "disqualified because during the last USACA Elections I did not vote for Mr. John Aaron and his group. I voted for Mr Gladstone Dainty and his group." A response from John Aaron dated February 22, 2011 also appeared alongside the original letter on Ondriveupdate.com. In his response, Mr. Aaron wrote that "three leagues failed to meet some of the compliance attributes within the time frame agreed upon by all of the leagues involved, resulting in them being declared ineligible to participate in the upcoming elections of the two regions. Like any democratic process however, there is always an opportunity to appeal a decision of any individual or committee, and that process has not yet been fully exhausted."
When reached for comment, Mr. Aaron said, “it was unfortunate that the compliance committee’s findings was portrayed by Mr. Ul Hasan as politically biased, since it was the committee’s decision and not mine.” Mr. Aaron dismissed Mr. Ul Hasan’s claim as being indicative of the typical response to such findings, adding that it underscored the need for constitutional reform and a total review of the eligibility of all the leagues of USACA, which are entitled to vote solely on the basis of being full members.
Separately, Mr. Aaron confirmed that he had resigned from his position as the Chairman of the USACA Elections and Compliance Committee. Mr. Aaron declined to comment further regarding the reasons for his resignation stating however that it was not directly related to the rejection of his committee’s findings by USACA’s President Gladstone Dainty. Mr. Aaron reiterated that his committee's recommendations had been submitted to USACA prior to his resignation at a teleconference meeting of the board held last Thursday evening, adding that the three leagues in question were approved to vote in the upcoming elections, without objection from most of the members of the USACA board.
Mr. Aaron said that the USACA board did not review the evidence submitted in support of his committee's recommendations on the ineligibility of the three leagues. He however, refused to be drawn into a controversy on the subject of whether the leagues found to be ineligible had the right to vote in the upcoming elections, reiterating that the compliance committee had performed its duties with integrity and transparency.
With regional and national elections around the corner, the topic of of vote-eligible leagues is now front-and-center. Taking a long-term view, it is of equal, if not greater importance, to review and to make any amendments to the constitution as may be necessary to ensure that it guarantees fair and proportionate representation.