Stage peaceful protest at AG’s Office yesterday
Approximately 39 persons from a group calling themselves ‘Guyana Cricket Stakeholders’ staged a peaceful protest yesterday morning against the Government of Guyana outside the Office of Attorney General Basil Williams to highlight Government’s apparent reluctance to address the issue of the Guyana Cricket Administration Act and the alleged illegality of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB).
According to spokesman for the group, former GCBs Chairman of selectors and ex West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Director Claude Raphael, the two-hour Picket was aimed at bringing to public’s attention the David Granger’s Government’s perceived lack of will in dealing with the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) issue which he feels is affecting the development of Guyana’s cricket.
Raphael explained that that the group is calling for Government’s intervention to bring some normalcy to the manner in which cricket is administered in Guyana. The group is calling for free and fair elections to be held by the GCB.
“It’s been two years now that this Act has been passed into law and we can’t help but wonder what is the real reason for this reluctance. Now that issue has been made public we hope that something can be done to ensure that the Cricket Board Elections are held soon,” Raphael stressed.
The protestors came from as far as Berbice, Essequibo and Linden to make their disapproval in the manner Government is dealing with this issue, known to the public. Among the East Coast members there yesterday was the President of the Buxton Cricket Club Essie Peters, while the GCA was also represented. Members from every Area Cricket Association in Guyana were present except East Bank and West Demerara.
A Placard screamed ‘Previous Govt passed the cricket Bill, present Govt lacks the will. Why? Another demanded “Mr President, we want free and fair GCB Election now! The one held by Raphael asked ‘Why is Mr Granger’s Government so supportive of an illegal regime? While former GCB Match Referee Omar Bacchus held up a Placard which said “Mr AG, Election Injunction must be heard- NOW!
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.
In the GCB Challenge to the ‘Cricket Administration Act’, Minister Frank Anthony and Attorney General Anil Nandalall were named as defends but now that the Government has changed, Sports Minister Nicolette 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. We are questioning why the AG and the Sports Minister are so reluctant to do so,” Raphael informed.
Former West Indies Test off-spinner and President of the Georgetown Cricket Association (GCA) Roger Harper, who said he was not at yesterday’s protest, had told Kaieteur Sports that the Bill is a way of streamlining the whole cricket structure and Organization in Guyana.
“It will help to ensure that Associations and Boards are all on the same page and the election processes for the bodies are better structured and also all are accountable,” Harper opined.
“We (GCA) are hoping that this (Bill) will mean that more of the right people with genuine interest in the development and advancement of the game at heart will be involved in the running of the sport,” The former Guyana Captain said.
He added that no one has a problem with the GCB per se but the manner in which the current executives attained office because there will always be a Guyana Cricket Board. Harper said he is hoping that the Bill with help to clean up all the chaos in Guyana’s cricket.
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