Bird’s Eye View Of Candidates

Date Published: 
Guyana Chronicle
Hardeo Oudit

THE saga of the presidency of the Guyana Cricket Board continues and I am mostly amused at some of the persons vying for this top position and the statements emanating from them as I have been following this campaign very closely since word of Mr. Chetram Singh’s decision not to seek re-election.

I am an ardent cricket enthusiast and am very concerned with the state of the game in Demerara, Guyana and further afield in the West Indies. I have several friends who are current administrators on these Boards and I am an accountant by profession and, in the interest of cricket, would like to open a healthy conversation on this topic whilst sharing some of my thoughts and my observations on the electability of the candidates themselves.

Firstly, I am pleased to see two of the dailies practising some decent level of sports journalism namely, the Kaieteur News (KN) and the Guyana Chronicle (GC), in the run up to these elections and trust that they would continue in this vein. I cannot say the same for the Stabroek News nor the Guyana Times newspapers as they seem to have decided on their horse and plan to back him down to the end.

Both the KN and the GC have published interviews of these candidates about their plans to develop cricket in Guyana and have sought to present a very impartial view to its readership, but the SN and the Times seem to be promoting one particular candidate whilst levelling some very daunting allegations against the Guyana Cricket Board’s administration.

The SN, in particular, has used the acid attack on the Assistant Treasurer of the GCB as the major campaign weapon for one of these candidates and continues to do so. I strongly feel that they should have shared whatever information they have with the police authorities rather than continuously levelling accusations or allegations that this event was cricket related. This is a very serious matter and I am shocked at the level the Stabroek News has stooped to without revealing any concrete evidence to support its allegations.

Before I proceed with commenting on the potential of these candidates, I would like to extend special congratulations to Mr. Chetram Singh on his brilliant tenure as head of the GCB, as he has accomplished quite a lot during his tenure of 19 years.

I am also of the view that no president should be allowed to serve for such a long time and there definitely does not seem to be a dearth of administrators in Guyana. Persons with credibility, integrity, expertise and strong reputation should present their credentials and plans to the electorate and be allowed a reasonable period to implement these plans.

A period of 6 to 10 years is the maximum that anyone should be allowed to serve in these key positions. I would strongly support constitutional term limits in this regard. Fresh ideas are needed in such a dynamic era of change.

Mr. Panday has been a cricket administrator for over two decades and recently decided to challenge for the presidency of the GCB in 2009 but lost out then in his bid, after which he seemed disillusioned and abandoned cricket administration in Georgetown and Guyana.

He now seems to have indicated a half-hearted approach to this race in 2011 stating that he would only contest if the electorate needs him. This is quite a ridiculous statement as I am sure that all the candidates are also only willing to serve if the electorate needs them and would vote for them, and smacks, as a bit of arrogance coming from Mr. Panday.

Mr. Panday has been part of Mr. Chetram Singh’s team for several years until 2009 and there should be some sort of succession planning if it was thought that Mr. Panday was good enough to have succeeded him.

I have no doubts about Mr. Panday’s administrative ability but many persons feel that he took over the reins of the Georgetown Association only to garner enough votes in Demerara for his election to the Guyana Board and, after he failed in that attempt in 2009, he unceremoniously dumped the Georgetown Association.

There are (unconfirmed reports) that he (allegedly) channelled valuable sponsorship dollars away from the Demerara Board to the Berbice & Georgetown Boards to satisfy his quest for the top position. This certainly did not go down well with his relationships amongst the cricketing fraternity and has left a bitter taste with some administrators.

His actions were surely calculated and premeditated and there is a dire need for persons who aspire to positions that they can make a contribution to the development of the game rather than using a position as a stepping stone and abandoning same when the desired result or their personal agenda is not achieved.

During his published interview with the KN, he seems to have made out a strong case of why he should be the marketing manager for the GCB rather than the president, while making some revealing remarks regarding potential sponsors who would be willing to return and come on board only if he is elected as president.

I feel that if Mr. Panday is honest in his support for the development of cricket he should not use his influence within the business community to suppress valuable sponsorship dollars towards cricket development in Guyana.

These statements have actually confirmed and is tacit admission about my earlier statement, herein, regarding his redirecting of sponsorship dollars to the Berbice Board & Georgetown from the Demerara Board due to spite for not supporting his candidacy in 2009.

Because of his strong relationships within the business community, Mr. Panday may be ideally suited as the next marketing manager of the GCB. I note that Mr. Ali has now publicly offered this position to Mr. Panday and it would be interesting to witness his response.

Mr. Panday seems to be attempting to rebuild his image as a baggageless cricket administrator but the decline in Guyana’s cricket did not start two years ago, but since the early 2000s and I seem to recall a protest demonstration during that time against the said Mr. Panday in front of the Bourda ground for his alleged involvement in sidelining of his current interviewer, Sean Devers from broadcasting in a cricket tournament.

Mr. Panday had publicly abused one of our famous cricket icons, Rohan Kanhai at the DCC pavilion when Mr. Kanhai was supporting Basil Butcher’s quest for the presidency.

Mr. Panday is not known for his pleasantness to his colleagues as some perceive he is only nice when he needs support for his candidacy. Be that as it may, Mr. Panday has proven himself as a competent cricket administrator but has quite a few blemishes and unforgivable actions against his name.

The other two candidates, Ramsay Ali and Bissoondyal Singh, both have about five years experience each at this level of cricket administration. Mr. Ali has served as the marketing manager for a few years on the GCB and has done a fair job of marketing the Board’s activities during that time.

The GCB did lose a major sponsor when the other candidate, Mr. Bissoondyal Singh, went public with some alleged financial irregularities of the GCB. In the circumstances, Mr. Ali has done fairly well to keep things together, but has never served as the President of any cricket Board before.

He, however, heads up one of the largest manufacturing organizations in Guyana and has established relationships with some of the major sponsors in Guyana which is enough testament to his leadership ability and business acumen.

Once he can develop a strong team, present and implement a solid strategic plan for taking cricket forward in Guyana, he should be given the opportunity. Because of his newness, he seems to have little or no baggage, while Mr. Bissoondyal Singh has been the most controversial and confrontational of the candidates so far.

It is believed that Mr. Singh has shrewdly used his contacts in certain sections of the media to great effect. He has used his fellow East Coast Executive, Mr. Jaigobin’s, demise to great effect as a campaign tool and the SN has allowed him to cast daily aspersions and insinuations against the cricket fraternity for this dastardly act against a fellow human being.

I do not think there is anyone in his sane mind that would condone what happened to Mr. Jaigobin, but Mr. Bissoondyal Singh’s political use of his disfigurement and its promotion by a leading newspaper can only be considered to be worse than the action itself. One should never hurl accusations without any concrete evidence.

I notice how quickly Mr. Singh reacted to defend himself when the Chronicle wrote an article concerning the financial irregularities of his Demerara Board where Mr. Jaigobin is the Treasurer. Mr. Bissoondyal Singh is the President of the East Coast and Demerara Cricket Boards and also the VP in charge of cricket development at the Guyana Board level.

We need to examine his accomplishments in these positions. East Coast cricket is in disarray; Demerara Board has several court matters swirling around compliments of Mr. Bissoondyal Deodasingh. Before you wonder if I am referring to three different persons here, rest assured that they are all the same person and you should always be very, very careful with persons that use aliases and different names on a regular basis.

Demerara cricket is plagued by controversies, divisions and legal battles all fuelled by its President who has done absolutely nothing to promote a harmonious environment and, as such, Demerara’s cricket is plummeting to new depths even with some talented cricketers around.

Mr. Singh is also the head of Cricket Development Committee at the GCB level and absolutely nothing has been achieved in this area.

Based on some articles I read, he seems to have used this pulpit to create further divisions in cricket on the East Bank area. I have just learnt that Mr. Singh is (allegedly) in Court with all of his neighbours surrounding him.

He seems to have an undying infatuation with the legal system. Recently, he seemed to have filed another matter in the court to drop a few of his key executives and to empower him to summon the AGM to suit his agenda, but still went ahead and published the date for the AGM without the court’s approval.

The other executives correctly stopped him from his megalomania until the judge deliberates on the matter. Mr. Singh seems to have no regard for the Board’s constitution or the powers of the court.

Mr. Singh has been accused of several of the same accusations that he has been making against the GCB, such as having two constitutions, financial irregularities, widespread disenchantment amongst its membership, dictatorial style of leadership and even faced a no confidence motion by 75% of the members of the Demerara Cricket Board.

I am trying to obtain a copy of the Demerara and the Guyana Cricket Boards audited reports and will be publishing a complete analysis of these two Boards accounting activities over the last two years for the general public.

The withdrawal of $777,000 from the DCB account by Mr. Bissoondyal Singh and his cohorts, the subsequent ludicrous explanations in the Chronicle newspaper by Mr. Singh and Mr. Jaigobin and some emerging evidence certainly suggests that there is more in the mortar than the pestle.