The recent stance taken by the executives of the Guyana Amateur Boxing Association (GABA) to institute a two months ban on Stephan Gouveia over his blatant disregard for proper procedure did not go down well with a vast number of people who felt that the ruling was excessively harsh. There are several sides to the issue and the majority of those offering comments are holding fast to their respective sides and forming individual opinions.
The issue had its genesis on May 1 last when Gouveia blatantly refused to engage in a contest against Ray Sandiford, in the third edition of the ProAm boxing card at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH).
Initially, Gouveia did not comprise a part of the card but in an effort to expose as many boxers and provide adequate activity for the amateur pugilists, GABA officials brokered a deal with officials of the Guyana Boxing Board of Control (GBBC) to include one more amateur bout on the card.
GBBC officials acquiesced to the request and both Sandiford and Gouveia were informed that they were matched against each other. Gouveia did not turn up for the bout even after he had agreed to do so.
A disciplinary committee comprising Vice President Eustace Cuffy, Assistant Secretary Treasurer, Keith Campbell and Tresurer Dexter Patterson was instructed to summon Gouveia to a meeting to explain his actions.
Gouveia’s coach, James Walcott was also invited to the hearing while Director of tournaments, Terrence Poole formed a part of the committee. Everyone, except Gouveia attended the forum.
During the hearing it was revealed that Gouveia did complain of feeling unwell before the bout. However, he rejected the efforts of GABA President Mr. Steve Ninvalle to take him to the doctor at no charge to him (Gouveia).
This and other revelations acted against Gouveia and he was summoned to appear before a disciplinary committee to defend his actions thus showing cause why he should not be disciplined.
The young boxer from the Harpy Eagles refused to appear before the disciplinary committee and after ventilating the issue members of that committee found him guilty of the offence and subsequently banned him from entering any tournament or any other boxing activity for two months.
When Steve Ninvalle assumed office as President of GABA, it was widely felt that his responsibilities as a government functionary would have precluded him from giving one hundred percent of his time to the affairs of the local pugilists.
What the naysayer did not include in the equation was the vibrancy of the other elected members and their desire to turn around the fortunes of the local amateur boxers. The truth is that there has been notable improvement in the boxing arena that is instructive and speaks of the tireless efforts of the various executives towards the boxers’ welfare.
The installment of a national coach who would be paid a monthly stipend by the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sports is a definite plus and that should lift the spirits of all affiliates that has the sport at heart.
Yet, something else was missing and that something could have destroyed the hard work of those affiliates that were prepared to make the necessary sacrifices for the sustenance of the sport.
There had to be a system in place that curtailed excessive and deviant behaviour of the many affiliates. When the disciplinary committee was installed, it was hoped that this unit would have been nothing more like a white elephant, enacted out of mere formality. It seems painfully obvious such is not the case. Deviant behaviour has cropped up and threatens to destroy the hard work of the executives.
There has been much talk of the progress being made in the cricket fraternity. There has also been a noticeable rise in the salaries of the cricketers especially those that engage in the highly paid 20/Twenty matches. In the same token, these cricketers are fined for the slightest infringement that brings the game into disrepute.
From showing dissent to the umpire’s ruling to bowling a slow over rate, these infringements attract heavy financial penalties. The captain is fined a higher percentage than his players because he is the man in charge and is expected to command the level of respect to keep his men in check.
All of this points to an urgent need to retain a high level of discipline among amateur boxing affiliates.
In order to preserve the kind of environment that would create the atmosphere for development, executives of the various associations would be required to adopt unbending stances. This does not mean that they must be inflexible. Every man is deemed innocent until proven guilty.
However, when a man gives up his right to a fair hearing, defiantly staying away from the forum set up by constitutionally elected members or when that man ignores the mechanisms set up to clear his name or possible vindication, he can blame no one but himself when he receives the full brunt of the law.
Stephan Gouveia’s blatant absence from a disciplinary hearing is a clear indictment of his ‘don’t care’ attitude to the executives that are working assiduously towards his development.
On that basis, a two-month ban can be considered a mere insignificant punishment.
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