Hilbert Foster leading a cricket revolution in Berbice
The Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) has been on the move for the last five years and no doubt has been breaking down barriers and setting new parameters on its quest to not only being the best Cricket Board in Guyana, but the Commonwealth and wider afield.
Over the last five years the BCB has been totally transformed and is undoubtedly experiencing one of its best periods with an unprecedented amount of on and off the cricket field projects.
Since the beginning of its new dispensation in 2008 the BCB has overseen the completion of over forty cricket tournaments which is being played at all age levels and over 320 other programmes and activities, making it one of the more prominent nongovernmental organisations in Guyana.
For its part the BCB has attracted an unprecedented large pool of sponsors, unveiled a long list of visionary programmes and has invested heavily in the development of new talent and cricket clubs. This has resulted in the dominance of the county’s cricket teams at all levels.
Its high standard and success has seen the elevation of Berbicians to West Indies Test, ODI, Female and “A” team levels in Narsingh Deonarine, Devendra Bishoo, Sewnarine Chattergoon, Brendon Bess, Royston Crandon, Jonathan Foo, Veerasammy Permaul, Assad Fudadin, Shemaine Campbelle, Erva Giddings, Tremayne Smartt and Subrina Munroe among others.
The members of the BCB should be commended in its entirety for setting such a tremendous pace with their selfless and unrelenting drive to make the Board even more successful.
Members such as President Keith Foster, Anil Beharry, Carl Moore, Angela Haniff, Leslie Solomon to name a few are the driving force behind the Cricket revolution. However the story could not be completed without mentioning the name of Hilbert Foster.
In fact it can be said that Foster is the driving force behind the success story of the Berbice cricket revolution and is the Secretary and CEO of the much vaunted Rose Hall Town Youth & Sports club which undoubtedly is Guyana’s leading youth and sports club.
Foster’s involvement with the BCB began with the election of the Keith Foster-led administration in 2008. Hilbert was appointed Public Relations Officer and he immediately went to work recommending the formation of a Special Events Committee to do special projects. His recommendation was immediately accepted. Taking Hilbert’s success story and experience as Secretary and CEO at the RHTY&SC he was predictably entrusted with the chairmanship of that committee.
Hilbert Foster has since being serving as PRO, Special events committee chairman, Marketing Manager the BCB and under his leadership and guidance, the Special Events committee has completed over 320 programmes/activities and has raised funds for 40 cricket tournaments at all age groups. Among the numerous ideas that foster has successfully implemented are the Annual Educational Awards Scheme, Awards Ceremony, Annual Review Magazine, Tribute to Heroes, Tribute to Coaches, Senior and Junior Elite Coaching Programmes, Inter-county Cap and MVP Programmes, Senior Players Charity Programme, Cellink Inter-county sponsorship, Educational Outreach Programmes for students like Essays, Spelling “B” etc, HIV/AIDS Rally, Cricket Educational Posters, Inter-zones Tournaments, Tribute to Groundsmen, Berbice All Time XI Teams, Berbice Cricket Hall of Fame among others.
Unbelievable they are all mostly Foster ideas. He has also gotten over $15M in finance and materials for the Berbice Cricket Board using his marketing skills, while dozens of clubs in the ancient county have received millions of dollars worth of items due to his efforts.
Kaieteur Sport last week caught up with the energetic Foster at his Area “H” Office of the RHTY&SC. He disclosed that for 2012 the BCB Special Events Committee has completed 65 programmes/activities out of 80 planned.
With just over four months into the year, Foster predicted that over 130 programmes activities should be completed by December. Among some of the new ideas successfully implemented in 2012 are the Guyoil Berbice wide Coaching Programme, Cricket tournaments in the Berbice River Area, distribution of scorebooks and cricket balls to clubs, Educational posters, Inter-zone Cricket Academy and an Intermediate Tournament.
Foster also came up with the idea to place special emphasis on the development of the game in the West Berbice, New Amsterdam/Canje and Upper Corentyne areas by hosting tournaments and coaching programmes for clubs based there. He is also spearheading the Berbice Cricket Board’s effort to establish working relationships with all stakeholders in Berbice. The Independence Day T/20 Tournament organised by the BCB and the B CCDA is also among his ideas.
Foster admitted that being the Secretary/CEO of the Rose Hall Town Youth &Sports Club and his numerous positions on the BCB especially the Chairman of the Special Events Committee at times takes a toll on him.
He said that the two bodies combined undertake a mind-blowing 210 programmes/activities per year. When asked what is the secret behind his success and why doesn’t he slow down after thirty years in community development work, Foster stated that he has no plans to scale back as he is still enjoying making positive differences in the lives of youths, the elderly and the less fortunate.
Successes over the years, he noted has been achieved due to hard work and sleepless nights. Foster said one of his secrets was his ability to come up with new ideas, his faith in God and a good relationship with hundreds of donors. Foster expressed disappointment that many sport administration become stagnant and are only in office to obtain positions for themselves like coaches and managers to travel overseas.
He disclosed that over the years, he has never slept in a hotel room, never accepted a manager or coach position and has never received a cent from the Berbice Cricket Board for services rendered. Under his dynamic leadership over the years the Rose Hall Town Youth & Sports Club has transformed itself from being a small organisation into one of Guyana’s and the Caribbean’s most dynamic youth and sports clubs.
They have risen to the status of an NGO, completing an unbelievable 2000 programmes and activities since 1990. On the cricket field they have won over 40 cricket tournaments at all age groups. The club has also produced numerous players for the West Indies, Guyana and Berbice and has also won the Guyana Cricket Board Club of the Year in 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2010.
In addition, the Club has received a Rotary Club Award for Vocational Service and has shared with its parent body, the St. Francis Youth Club, three Commonwealth Youth Service Awards.
The pinnacle for the club was being recognized by the International Olympic Committee and was awarded as the best sports club for 2011. Foster created history for Berbice when in 2009 he won the National Sports Personality Award from the National Sports Commission.
Questioned about not receiving a National Award for himself, Foster who is perhaps the most productive and successful local sports administrator stated that he does not work for Awards but to see youths like Assad Fudadin and Shemaine Campbelle fulfill their potential.
An excited Foster disclosed that both the Berbice Cricket Board and Rose Hall Town Youth & Sports club would be unveiling several exciting and historic programmes in the upcoming weeks and expressed gratitude to his parents, his wife Sylvia, daughter Marissa and Brothers Keith and Alex for their support over the years. (Samuel Whyte)