Caricom To WICB: Fix GCB
In what can be considered a breakthrough for the Guyana national cricket team ahead of the regional Twenty20 tournament slated for Antigua from tomorrow (January 9), the two-time champions have been reinstated by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
Concerns about sidelining Guyana as host venue for the New Zealand and Australian tours have also been put to rest after it was announced that the games will proceed unimpeded. The announcements came after a Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee meeting on Cricket convened at the Caricom Secretariat on Friday last to iron out issues that over recent weeks stymied the hopes of the Guyana team being represented.
President Donald Ramotar, at whose request the meeting was held on Friday joined Minister of Culture Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony, Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General Anil Nandlall, Caricom Secretary General Dr. Irwin LaRocque, Chairman of the recently formed Interim Management Committee (IMC) on Cricket and former West Indies Captain Clive Lloyd and Deputy Secretary General in the Caricom Secretariat Lolita Applewhaite at a teleconference.
On the other end were Antiguan Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer who chaired the session, Caricom Chairman and President of Suriname Desi Bouterse and Prime Minister of Barbados Freundel Stewart who were accompanied by their delegations. The Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Cricket is a body set up by the Conference of Heads of Government to address issues pertaining to the game.
President of the WICB Dr. Julian Hunte, who was invited to participate during the course of the teleconference, indicated his willingness to bring an amicable closure to the issue. Dr. Hunte, accompanied by a delegation from the Board has agreed to visit Guyana for a meeting with local officials tomorrow (January 9) to iron out some of the discrepancies that emanated since the establishment of the IMC.
During his visit it is expected that there will be a reconciliation of issues relating to the IMC as opposed to the GCB as the authorized body managing the affairs of cricket on the local shores. Minister Nandlall noted that a request was made for the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee meeting on Cricket together with the Secretariat to be part of the engagement, all in the aim of arriving at a solution in the best interest of cricket locally and regionally.
Secretary General LaRocque believes that while the issue at hand relates to cricket in Guyana, it is not an isolated case since it has implications for the rest of Caricom. Government intervened as mediator following a recommendation by the Acting Chief Justice Ian Chang. Meetings were summoned with former President Bharrat Jagdeo and GCB members in the three counties and the IMC, headed by former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd was set up.
A menu of measures were outlined including the drafting of a new constitution, development and implementation of a cricket development programme at the national and regional levels, reconciliation of the fractions of the Demerara Board into one Demerara Board, an appraisal on the status of all financial transactions by an independent auditor and other issues that the IMC may deem pertinent to the development of cricket in Guyana.
In the lead up to the tournament the GCB had written the WICB, indicating its “incapacity” to submit a national team but Minister Anthony through a correspondence to Dr. Hunte rebutted that notion. Minister Anthony’s assurance came with a guarantee that the Guyana Government will provide assistance wherever necessary. However, with the GCB’s earlier announcement, the WICB had already taken the decision to sideline the Guyana team and replace it with at West Indies B team.
It was felt by many that GCB’s action was a callous attempt to jeopardize the Guyana team from playing in the tournament given that no other body has had cause to write the WICB to indicate whether or not it has the capacity to send teams to the tournament. It was also felt that the WICB, by insisting that the derecognized GCB is the only recognized entity to administer cricket in Guyana, has contributed to the debacle and its actions are tantamount to interference with the sovereignty of a nation state.
Minister Anthony had written Dr. Hunte explaining the rationale behind the establishment of the IMC and the double standards the GCB had demonstrated, having indicated earlier that a Guyanese team has already been selected to participate in the competition. He had also indicated to the WICB that “we have previously reached out to the WICB in the past to address pressing issues concerning the mismanagement of cricket in Guyana to no avail,” and that “the WICB has failed to address the concerns raised.”
Minister Frank Anthony in an invited comment spoke with satisfaction about the Guyana national team being afforded the opportunity to participate in the tournament.
“For this we are very pleased because we always wanted our national team to play in these competitions… not only in these competitions but as soon as this one concludes there will be the four-day competition and we also want our national team to play,” Minister Anthony said. He repudiated claims that Government is against teams participating in any competition but explained that the IMC which has a life-span of six months is at present making fervent efforts to redress the administration of cricket in Guyana.
“I think the general public here has a very good idea of the difficulties we are having at the administrative level and that the IMC which the court has ruled should be in place to assist in this process… is working to ensure that all the difficulties we are having in the administration of cricket in Guyana, we can sort them out,” Minister Anthony said.
He spoke with high acclaim about the IMC and its chairman whom he described as competent, former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd with vast experience in cricket internationally. Lloyd also chairs the Cricket Development Council of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
“Because of his stature, a lot of people are looking forward to him bringing all his international experience to bear in fixing our cricket at the domestic level once and for all,” Minister Anthony said.