Dec 30, 2009 Sports
Former boxing champion co-opted as Public Relations Officer
Former Continental of Americas Welterweight boxing champion, Michael Benjamin was installed as the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Guyana Amateur Boxing Association (GABA) when the executives of that organization convened for their inaugural meeting at the Olympic House, High Street Georgetown Monday evening last.
Newly elected President of the organization, Steve Ninvalle, presided over the forum and while congratulating Benjamin, urged the other affiliates to unite towards a common cause.
He further promised to lift the sport from its current dismal state into a solid and competent force.
Several other officials attended the forum including Vice Presidents Eustace Cuffy and Maurice Rajkumar, Secretary Sean Richmond, Assistant Secretary/Treasurer, Keith Campbell, coaches Terrence Poole (GDF), Paulette Nurse (Ricola Warriors), Wensel Thomas and Sebert Blake (FYF), Shem Cuffy (North West Boxing Gym) and Aubrey Moore (Essequibo Boxing Gym).
The group discussed several initiatives towards the sport’s revitalization, proposing strategies towards its reinstatement to its number one position locally.
Several issues were ventilated including the dismal state of the bank account and strategies to effect improvement in this area.
The association is bereft of funds but executives say that they are awaiting a report from former President Affeeze Khan on the true state of the organization’s account.
Newly installed treasurer, Dexter Patterson said that he is also in the dark pertaining to any debts incurred by the association. He has also joined the call for cooperation from Mr. Khan to rectify the situation.
Secretary, Sean Richmond disclosed that he had written to Mr. Khan requesting an overview of the financial status of GABA but has received no reply to date. He has hinted on soliciting the intervention of the President of the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA), K A Juman Yassin on the issue.
Meanwhile, Vice President, Maurice Rajkumar noted that unless GABA is financially viable the grand plans and projections of the new executive would dwindle to naught.
He subsequently donated $50,000 of his personal funds towards GABA coffers. As though on cue, President Ninvalle pledged a further $10,000 while Secretary Sean Richmond followed their lead and pledged a further $5,000.
The executives are also mulling other strategies to make the bank account more viable.
Mr. Richmond disclosed that work has already begun in this area but those appointed to the task have had their efforts frustrated by the non-cooperation of the former president, Affeeze Khan.
The assistant secretary/treasurer said that he had written to the former president requesting an inventory of GABA property as well as the general state of affairs relating to the existence of gyms. Khan is still to reply to the correspondence.
Notwithstanding this development, the new executive body plans to work assiduously towards the regularization of the situation for the benefit of the boxers.
Ninvalle further stated that his executives would bury the dark period of the past while focusing on future developmental strategies.
He admitted that there was much to be done to regularize the situation. Subsequently, he warned his executives that reliving the adverse experiences of the past would only serve to stymie the developmental ploys now being considered.
He then challenged them to ignore the adverse occurrences of the past and attack their new responsibilities with gusto.
“While we intend to reflect on the past on our way forward, we will not allow bad experiences to stymie our path,” Ninvalle reiterated. He further underlined his vision for the beleaguered association.
“In my capacity of president of GABA, I intend to forge a new culture and attitude that will ultimately benefit the boxers.”
The newly installed GABA head charged his executives to think strongly of ways and means of forging ahead for the good of the sport. Among some of the strategies mooted are regular visits to the gyms.
Ninvalle said that this ploy would give a true assessment of the conditions under which the coaches and boxers have to work. When this is ascertained the executives would be in a better position to proffer appropriate assistance.
Ninvalle said that his executives plan to collaborate more frequently with the coaches so that any arising challenges could be dealt with immediately.
A decision was then taken to meet with the coaches and other stakeholders on a quarterly basis. The executives also plan to convene for statutory meeting around that time.
Already, the coaches have suggested a data base comprising the entire membership, an initiative that was widely viewed as timely. Mr. Ninvalle has lauded the initiative and subsequently promised to place it high on the agenda.
The executives were installed after incumbent President Affeeze Khan tendered his resignation shortly after eking out a 21-20 victory over Ninvalle at the Annual General Meeting last February 12. Khan subsequently tendered his resignation to GOA President, K A Juman Yassin. He had cited health reasons.
The other elected officials following his cue were Keith Lewis and Rudolph Torrington (Vice Presidents), Otis VanLewin (Secretary), Ravendra Ketwaroo (Treasurer) and Keith French (Assistant Secretary Treasurer). The current executives were installed after an Extraordinary General Meeting about one month ago.
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