Attorney: Sports Minister Recognizes Bissoon
Even as the honourable Justice Rishi Persaud said on Friday that the issues between the two feuding factions of the Demerara Cricket Board (DCB) are now out of the Court’s jurisdiction and that the legality of either side is yet to be established, Bissoon Singh’s Attorney says that Guyana’s Sports Minister Dr. Frank Anthony recognises the Bissoon Singh faction as the rightful Demerara Board.
Bissoon Singh and his lawyer Anil Nandlall held a press conference yesterday morning to discuss the issues surrounding their withdrawal of a Court Case before Judge Persaud against the Raj Singh faction of the DCB.
They are convinced that the Bissoon Singh faction is the legally installed DCB even as the other faction is adamant that it is the ‘real’ Board, mandated to run the affairs of Demerara’s cricket.
A vote by the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) executives (the ruling body for cricket in Guyana) on the matter could be the next step to breaking the stalemate, failing which the Sport Ministry or National Sports Commission could become involved.
However, speaking to reporters from the four daily newspapers and Capitol News TV, Nandlall informed that the Sports Minister told him that he recognised the Bissoon Singh faction as the DCB, adding that the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) also recognizes the Bissoon Singh-led DCB since Singh was invited to a BCB activity yesterday as the DCB President.
According to Singh, a Vice-President on the GCB, the Sports Minister had invited his executive to a meeting at his office where he pledged support to the group just a day before they were scheduled to appear for their case against the other faction before the Court.
The Raj Singh faction yesterday informed that their executive was also scheduled to meet the Sports Minister this week creating more uncertainty as to which is the recognised Board.
Nandlall yesterday explained that the case was ‘dropped’ because he had gotten what he had wanted from the proceedings and that because the case was overtaken by events, it had outlived its usefulness.
He said he approached the Court to get an injunction stopping Raj Singh from convening an executive meeting to try and overrule the decision at the January 17 meeting to have the DCB elections on January 22 and to try and get all the parties involved together.
Nandlall provided a background to the dispute and informed that Bissoon Singh and some of his DCB members had approached him after the meeting could not be held due to lack of a quorum.
The attorney, who is also a Member of Parliament, explained that on January 14 he filed a motion to make vacant the seats of the non-attending members with a view to bringing them together.
Chief Justice Ian Chang ordered that a meeting be held by the entire executive on or before January 24 and such a meeting was held at the GCB secretariat on January 17 at which all the parties were present.
Nandlall said at that meeting a motion was produced to advocate for a number of things, among them being the number of delegates from the clubs.
“Clubs were on that list that never participated in competitions and therefore could not vote. Bissoon Singh pointed out the inaccuracies and refused to take it as a resolution because of the mis-information,” Nandlall said.
Another contentious issue was the eligibility of DCB Public Relations Officer Rovin Stanley to vote since he had moved to Canada and a vote was taken with went 6-6 with Bissoon Singh, as the Chairman, using his casting vote, to rule Stanley, a supporter of the Raj Singh faction ineligible to vote.
The Lawyer said that the decision was taken at that meeting to have the elections at Lusignan on January 22 and the meeting ended.
“We feared that they (Raj Singh faction) were planning another meeting to overrule our decision and asked the court to grant me an order to protect the decision taken at the January 17 meeting and it was granted,” Nandalall disclosed.
Nandlall explained that anybody can meet as a group in Guyana but that the Raj Singh faction could not meet under the banner of the DCB because once the President is functioning the Vice-President or Secretary cannot act on his behalf. The Lawyer reiterated that he had gotten what he wanted from the court hence his withdrawal of the case.
On the Stanley issue Nandlall argued that because he was no longer living in the jurisdiction he could not be eligible to be a DCB executive although he admitted that nowhere in the DCB constitution stated that living outside of Demerara or Guyana debarred anyone from being a part of the DCB.
It was revealed by a member of the media that a former Berbice Board President was living in Demerara while serving as the head of his board while another journalist asked why was only Stanley’s status questioned when Raj Singh was also not living Guyana.
Nandlall said if the other faction felt that his client was not the legally installed DCB President they could again move to the court if they wished.
However, two prominent Sports Administrators opined that GCB President Chetram Singh needs to act quickly to have the matter resolved by asking his executives to make a decision on which board to recognize or ask for a re-election.
Others in the sports fraternity feel that Government should refrain from publicly supporting any Sports Association or Board before the legitimacy of that entity has been confirmed, especially if the faction they are supporting is eventually deemed the illegal Board.
As it is, despite the claim by both ‘Presidents’ that they are the genuine body to run cricket in Demerara, there remains two Demerara Boards in one County and plenty of confusion.