Feb 19, 2012 Sports
Over the past four years, Berbice cricket has undergone major changes and
development and most of its successes can be linked to the outstanding work and visionary planning of the Berbice Cricket Board Special Events Committee.
The Committee was set up by then acting BCB President Keith Foster who had just replaced elected President Jafferally Asrafali, who had resigned for personal reasons in April, 2008. The President (ag) asked his reluctant younger brother Hilbert, Secretary/CEO of the Rose Hall Town Youth & Sports Club to head the committee.
The aim of the Special Events Committee (SEC) was to undertake some projects to assist in the restoration of the sport in the Ancient County which at the time was undergoing a low phase with few tournaments being played, very few sponsors on board with low morale among club officials, players and supporters.
The younger Foster however had other ideas and had a vision of transforming the BCB into a highly successful and progressive NGO in the same way he transformed the Rose Hall Town Youth & Sports Club.
With the support of dedicated and hardworking committee members the likes of Angela Haniff, Anil Beharry, Romesh Munna, Winston Smith, Leslie Solomon, Gregory Rambarran and Carl Moore, Foster has been able to fulfill his vision and today the Berbice Cricket Board is much more than just a cricketing body.
The success of the SEC is without doubt unmatched by any other in Guyana and West Indies Cricket. The Committee today has under its mandate – special events, public relations, marketing and finance, community development, charity, cricket development & coaching, awards/tribute programmes, educational programmes, social projects and sponsors relationship.
Foster disclosed that from April 2008 to December 2011, they had completed a total of 251 events with 52 in 2008, 59 in 2009, 65 in 2010 and 75 in 2011. Along the way the SEC has organised several historic and visionary programmes and projects that have had positive impact on cricket in Berbice.
The work of the Committee has also resulted in cricket being played at all levels, Under-13, 15, 17, 19, 21, Female, Second and First Division level. The Board has also introduced the highly popular and competitive Inter Zone tournaments.
Off the field, some of the programmes introduced by the Special Events Committee are annual awards ceremony, annual review magazine, educational awards scheme, junior and senior elite training programme, inter county cap system, inter county MVP, BCB mother/father of the year, senior players charity programme, tribute to coaches, tribute to heroes, tribute to groundsmen, tribute to retired cricketers among others.
The Committee over the past four years has also raised close to $15M worth of sponsorship for the Board. Special emphasis has been placed on coaching and cricket development with the hosting of numerous clinics for junior captains, junior batsmen, spinners and fast bowlers.
Clubs, NGOs, schools and Orphanages have benefitted from millions of dollars worth of educational materials, cricket gear, clothing, footwear, food items and other items.
The Committee was also responsible for the signing of the historic Cellink sponsorship which covers all their Inter County teams.
The result of four years of hard work has been the complete restoration of Berbice cricket with the county teams completely dominating at all levels while Berbicians continues to make their mark at the national level.
Berbicians at both the male and female levels has gone on to represent the West Indies at the Test, ODI, T20 and ‘A’ levels. Those players are Devendra Bishoo, Sewnarine Chattergoon, Brendon Bess, Veerasammy Permaul, Assad Fudadin, Royston Crandon, Jonathan Foo, Erva Giddings, Shemaine Campbelle, Tremayne Smartt and Subrina Munroe.
With its unbelievable success the SEC has no plans to bash in past glories but intends to forge ahead with new plans and ideas in 2012. The Board has set itself a record breaking 22 tournaments at all levels.
The projected tournaments will include several that would be played especially in West Berbice, New Amsterdam/Canje and Central/Upper Corentyne. Each of these zones would have T20 and 40 overs competitions for its teams only as the BCB expands its efforts to develop new talent.
Special emphasis would also be placed on coaching and personal development with over twelve clinics planned for the year while special one-day cricket Academies would be held in each zone.
The annual one week Scotia Bank Academy would also be held in July while the junior and senior elite training programmes will also take place.
The SEC has also embarked on a poster educational campaign. A total of six posters would be published this year on the History of Berbice cricket and its Test Players, batting, field placement, bowling, physical fitness, wicket keeping and Berbice records.
Two of the posters have already been printed and have been shared out to schools, NGOs, Clubs and business places. The Committee has also set itself an off the field target of 80 activities. These would include the 5th annual Awards Ceremony which would be held on March 10 in New Amsterdam.
Foster has expressed his satisfaction at the successes of the SEC and the impact it has made on the game in the County. He further stated that acquiring sponsorship for the Board is relatively easy because of its track record and also because of the relationship he shares with numerous sponsors via his job as the Rose Hall Town Youth & Sports Club Secretary/CEO.
Sadly, however the long serving cricket official has indicated that 2012 might be his last year as a Board official as his duties at the Club has expanded due to new programmes/projects.
He expressed his disappointment that other cricket organisations in Guyana like the Guyana Cricket Board, Essequibo Cricket Board and ill fated Demerara Cricket Board among others have not followed their lead and example to set up a Special Events Committee.
Foster stated that he and members of the BCB/SEC were willing and available to meet with officials of the different cricket boards to share their experiences and success stories.
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