Basketball action resumes after referees’ strike

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After a full week of no basketball action basketball fans are now breathing a sigh of relief as the St. Kitts Amateur Basketball Association and the St. Kitts Basketball Referees Association have all come to a resolve and games will now continue.

According to sources close to the association the impasse began when the President of the Referees Association, Ian Liburd, presented a list of concerns and a proposal to the SKABA president Wendell Pemberton on the April 24.

The proposal from the referees was not addressed until May 8 when a follow-up correspondence was sent to Pemberton further emphasizing the concerns raised, including other concerns of the referees and desk officials.

The concerns as outlined in the letter to the president included concerns about the security of referees, the welfare of an injured colleague who suffered severe injuries at the hands of a player earlier in the season and the payment of a stipend to the referees and desk officials.

The proposals were seemingly met with some resistance from Pemberton, thus precipitating the strike action which started on May 9. The action triggered the President to convene a meeting with the Referees and Desk Officials.

The lengthy meeting resulted in Mr. Pemberton acceding to the demands of the Referees with minor adjustments.

Both parties then ended the meeting with an agreement that games will continue the following day and a contract will be presented to the refereeing body at a later date.

On Thursday when games were supposed to be continued as agreed the night before the Assistant Treasurer, without consultation with the Games Commissioner, the Vice President or the General Secretary, informed the President of the Referees Association that games were again postponed.

This action was met with much resistance and frustration as players were anxious to play ball. The actions of the assistant treasurer motivated the teams to unite and call for an emergency general meeting so that the matter could be addressed and resolved.

The meeting was convened on last Saturday with more than 12 clubs in SKABA being represented by an excess of 17 persons. The meeting was chaired by the Vice President, Wallis Wilkin, who acted in the absence of Pemberton, who arrived at the meeting an hour and a half late.

The meeting ended with the assistant treasurer apologizing to the general body and the executive for his actions and admitted his error in his failure to properly communicate with the rest of the SKABA executive who were unaware of the reason behind the second postponement of the league.

It was also agreed that play was to resume last Sunday as scheduled and the contract was to be presented to the referees for there approval on Wednesday.

When asked about the perceived rift between executive members the Vice President Wilkin said: “Like any other executive or management of any association there will be problems as egos and personalities clash. However I think that ultimately all the executive members have the interest and progress of basketball as there priority and I hope this would override whatever differences there are.”

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