Anthony snubs blame for cricket imbroglio
By Edison Jefford
Officially, he was not down on the programme to speak, but the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony could not sit idly by and allow Guyana’s Olympic Association (GOA) President, K. A. Juman Yassin to blame his ministry for the cricket imbroglio.
Yassin, in his official remarks at the GOA Awards and Appreciation Ceremony last Friday, laid the blame squarely at the feet of the Ministry of Sport for the current cricket mess in Guyana. His unambiguous statements prompted the minister to seek an impromptu hearing.
“The matter has been allowed to get out of hand; blame must be placed at the Ministry of Sport. It’s our view that the GCB (Guyana Cricket Board) is an institution and the question we must ask ourselves is which institution is next; if an inch is taken why not take a yard,” Yassin said, alluding to what is being purported as Government’s take-over of Guyana’s cricket following the establishment of an Interim Management Committee (IMC) and GCB disbandment.
“I do feel that the GCB has not been given an opportunity to put itself in order. I am asking His Excellency, the President of Guyana (who was present at the occasion), to take this matter in hand,” Yassin continued on the subject, adding that he believes Donald Ramotar assumed the Office of the President “in a lot of goodwill”.
Following those fledging remarks, Chairperson of the occasion, GOA Vice-President, Dr. Karen Pilgrim announced what was rightly called “a rebuttal” from the minister. An incensed Anthony then laid down what he called “facts” before an audience of sport enthusiasts, sport association heads and other stakeholders among invited guests.
“Government did not have any interests in interfering with the affairs of the GCB. They’ve been having problems that stemmed from the Demerara Cricket Board that was split into two bodies. Things got so bad that people at the GCB level could not sit in the same room. It was Chetram Singh (former GCB President), who came to me and asked if I could sit and work through those issues,” Anthony said, indicating that his intention is to “clarify” Yassin’s assertions.
Continuing to establish reasons for Government’s role in local cricket administration, Anthony said that the GCB was operating with two different constitutions; there were lots of allegations of financial improprieties and there was controversy surrounding the ownership of a cricket hostel at LBI among others.
He said the Government got involved to resolve those issues. The Minister pointed out that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) was invited to be part of the resolution in the initial phases, but did not ascend to the invitation. Anthony told his audience that he believes that the reason for the WICB initial decline to be part of the process had to do with the fact that two GCB Executives were Directors of the WICB. He shared the view that maybe the WICB backed down from ending up in a situation where it was investigating itself.
But to further elucidate his ministry’s role, Anthony indicated that there was no move to overrun the functions of the GCB, but rather to clear the issues and get Guyana’s cricket moving again. It is unfortunate, he said, that matters have now taken a different turn.
The GCB and Government have been at loggerheads ever since the establishment of an IMC with the latest saga being the resignation of new GCB President, Ramsay Ali following police raids at his home and the homes of several GCB Executives.
In a statement issued to cable network, SportsMax, Ali stated that Directors of his private sector institution, Sterling Products, where he is CEO, had become concerned for his wellbeing after his home had been invaded. In addition, he noted that his character would have become increasingly compromised with the constant accusations. He said his resignation had to do with those dangers associated with him remaining at the helm of the association.