I don’t expect a High Court judge to respond to what the press, commentators or public officials say. Judges normally stay away from that arena. This applies throughout the world. When the government of a country keeps lamenting what a particular judge has done and if the judge feels that the comments are not accurate, he or she will make a public statement.
It is common knowledge throughout the world that a judge or the Chief Justice will step in if the political directorate, be it a Minister or the President or Prime Minister, casts aspersions on the judiciary or utters a statement about a High Court trial that has national implications for the credibility of the judiciary.
We don’t have to look far. Right here in Guyana a few months ago, a Minister (Ms. Manickchand) made a remark about a court matter involving the then Police Commissioner and presided over by the Chief Justice.
The Chief Justice wasn’t too pleased, and in a direct reaction to what the Minister said, publicly stated that he would consider resigning. Yet for over two years, another Minister, Frank Anthony, and at least on one occasion, Roger Luncheon, have misquoted the Chief Justice on a matter of extreme national importance and the judge would not correct them.
My question is if the Chief Justice can respond to one Minister who spoke only once on an issue, why is he silent on the constant misrepresentation of his words by another Minister (see four letters of mine on this in the KN – December 8 and December 31 last year, and January 2 and January 7 of this year)?
Three times over an eighteen-month period, Minister of Sports, Dr Frank Anthony referred to the “mandate” of the Chief Justice when the Minister sought to dissolve the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB). The Chief Justice has never issued a mandate, spoken about a mandate or even alluded to a mandate from the court about Government’s involvement in removing the GCB. I will repeat for the fifth time in my writings on this issue in this newspaper what came out of the mouth of Justice Ian Chang.
He refused an injunction against the GCB on the ground that the GCB is not a legal entity. He then observed that given the turmoil in local cricket administration the Ministry of Sports MAY (my emphasis) want to intervene. On this opinion of the Chief Justice, the Sports Ministry acted.
The books of the GCB were seized and padlocks were placed on its premises.
The Ministry of Sports invented an Interim Management Committee headed by Clive Lloyd. The courts ordered the padlocks removed; the IMC was not recognized as the legitimate cricket administration. A CARICOM deal was not accepted by the Guyana Government, the West Indies Cricket Board continues to deal only with the GCB, the GCB continues to function and international cricket has been removed from Guyana.
Now we have a new development. The IMC has come up with a constitution for the GCB.
The GCB Secretary, Mr. Anand Sanasie, has sent a copy to me. I have read this document and I know that even before it reaches Parliament, APNU and AFC will not even touch it much less allow a debate in Parliament. Contrary to the expressed edict of International Cricket Conference (ICC) that politics must be kept out of the sport, the constitution of the GCB, if accepted by the Guyanese cricketing public, puts the administration of cricket in this land straight onto the lap of the Ministry of Sports.
What is egregious and asinine is the statement from the Government that the document is a replica of what obtains in Trinidad.
How can the ruling clique in Guyana be so silly? The opposition is going to read the Trinidad version, see no role for the Government, and will commonsensically reject Clive Lloyd’s paper.
But even if we agree that the ruling politicians are capable of all kinds of mediocrity, this is a blueprint that came from Lloyd’s IMC. Lloyd worked with the ICC, so he must know that the international administrators of cricket do not want any substantial role for governments.
So where do we go from here? My advice to the GCB is to call a meeting of most of the Guyanese stakeholders – Bar Association, APNU, AFC, Transparency Institute, Guyana Human Rights Association, People’s Parliament, Olympic Association, Red Thread, Guyana Medical Association, Private Sector Commission, Guyana Press Association, TUC, Guyana Council of Churches among others, and ask their advice as to how they can proceed with cricket in Guyana. Most, if not all, of these stakeholders love cricket.
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