Government’s intervention required
By Sean Devers
The future of Guyana’s cricket now appears to hinge on the intervention of the Collation
Government if there is to be any legal elections of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) anytime soon since Sports Minister Nicolette Henry and Attorney General Basil Williams are the defendants in the ‘Guyana Cricket Administration Act’ Court case and seem reluctant do anything.
There has not been a GCB Elections since August 2011 after Chetram Singh, who served as GCB’s Presidency for 18 years, was replaced that year. Since then Guyana’s cricket has endured turbulent times with plenty of Court cases and in-fighting between the GCB and its sub Boards. After the resignation of Dru Bahadur in March, ECB President Faizul Bacchus is now the acting GCB President until elections are held.
After a challenge to the Guyana Cricket Administration Act 2014 by the GCB, the then Chief Justice (Ag) Ian Chang, upheld an injunction and issued an order that prevented any elections of the GCB and its membership until the substantive matter is heard.
Without elections the present GCB will continue to run Guyana’s cricket until the matter regarding the Cricket Administration Act, which was assented into a Law by former President Donald Ramotar, is heard or the injunction is quashed.
In 2014, then Sports Minister Dr Frank Anthony had, as was mandated by the ‘Cricket Administration Act’, appointed Pastor Winton McGowan, a respected cricket historian, to the position of ‘Cricket Ombudsman’ with his duties being to verify the members that were eligible to vote and oversee the GCB elections. This was his only role in the matter since the ICC is very strict on ‘political involvement’ in Cricket.
In the GCB Challenge to the ‘Cricket Administration Act’, Minister Anthony and embattled Attorney General Anil Nandlall were named as defends but now that the Government has changed, Minister Henry and Attorney General Basil Williams, who worked on the ‘Cricket Bill’ when he was in the opposition party, have now become the defendants in the case.
“The defendants’ role is to have the matter brought up for early hearing or to have the injunction quashed which will then allow for free and fair elections of the GCB to be held,” informed a legal source.
To its credit, the GCB has been the first Regional territory to hand out Academy Contracts to the 12 fringe players not in the National team and introduce an eight-team Franchise League with each non-contracted player being paid to play. During its tenor Guyana has won three consecutive First-Class titles, an achievement the GCB will use to camouflage their flaws and alleged victimization of those who challenge their authority.
Essequibo Cricket Board (ECB) is reportedly supporting the GCB, the BCB is opposing them, while the Demerara Cricket Board (DCB), divided into two factions; one led by East Coast Cricket Board (ECCB) President Bissoon Singh and the other by overseas based Raj Singh, were barred from voting in the last GCB elections.
It is understood that the ‘new’ BCB President, who took over after Anil Beharry’s resignation, is now leaning towards supporting the GCB. However, no elections can be held unless Minister Henry and Attorney General Williams take a stance on this matter.
But this could not be easy as it sounds since it seems that the parties involved are all playing political games with the future of Guyana’s talented young cricketers.
The three weakest areas in Guyana’s cricket, Essequibo and West Demerara and East Bank are reportedly in favor of this GCB remaining in office, while the Upper Demerara sub Association has no competitions. Bayrock in Wismar is the only functioning club in Linden but plays in East Bank Demerara competitions.
The Georgetown Cricket Association (GCA) led by former Test player Roger Harper, a strong and vocal opponent of the GCB, has the highest level of Cricket in the Country with the good players from Berbice and Essequibo frequently playing in GCA tournaments.
So it is safe to say the Guyana’s best cricketers come from the three areas (GT, E/Coast & B’ce) where the majority of the Clubs feel the present GCB, which is losing members even without elections, must be replaced.
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