Cricket Administration Bill Passed
The National Assembly on Thursday evening passed the Guyana Cricket Administration Bill, paving the way for new elections of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) and bringing an end to a long-standing impasse between executives of the Cricket Board and the Guyana Government.
The Alliance For Change (AFC) did not support the Bill, while the other parliamentary party, the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) voted in favour.
Sport Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, who presented the Bill to the National Assembly, said it was drafted after extensive consultations with all stakeholders, and moreso, following recommendation in a ruling made by the High Court. Dr Anthony pointed out that the bill firstly makes it legal for the GCB to be established as a corporate body, comprising the Demerara, Essequibo and the Berbice Cricket Boards, all of which will also be made corporate entities.
A section of the Bill will address the issue of phantom voting for the election of persons for administrative positions and at the same time, gives limited power to the Sport Minister.
“We created a unique innovation and we created the position of a Cricket Ombudsman; this person will be tasked with the responsibility of verifying and registering of clubs, he or she will have ample time to verify legitimacy of clubs.”
The role of the Minister under this legislation will only be to appoint the Ombudsman. “The Minister’s roles has been minimised in this Bill, the only role is that which is provided for, he can only appoint the Ombudsman, after that first election the role of the Minister ceases.”
The National Assembly was also told that the Bill provides for better financial accountability. As such, the GCB, under this new legislation will be required to present timely audited financial reports to the National Assembly, as well as the National Sports Commission.
“We feel that with greater scrutiny and oversight of financial records, that allegations of financial impropriety will be reduced.”
The Subject Minister added that the recommendations from the acting Chief Justice in his rulings are included in the Bill. Issues raised during public consultations over a period of time were also taken into consideration. Minister Anthony added that he is confident that all the past issues which once hampered cricket in Guyana have been addressed in the bill.
Guyana now joins two other Caribbean nations, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados, which made the governing bodies for cricket legal entities. The Bill was tabled by Government in December 2011 in a bid to end the impasse over the national game. It provides Constitutions for the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB), the Demerara Cricket Board (DCB), Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) and the Essequibo Cricket Board (ECB) and is divided into five parts with one schedule giving respective Boards the powers to effectively manage the affairs of local cricket.
The absence of a corporate structure for the County Boards had been exposed when Secretary of the BCB Angela Haniff challenged the validity of the GCB elections of June 10, 2011. Acting Chief Justice Ian Chang had thrown out the matter on the grounds that all of the associations embroiled in the matter were legal non-entities and had been so from their inception. Therefore, they could not sue or be sued.
The Bill was sent to a Special Select Committee after it was laid in the National Assembly by the Sport Minister. Several amendments have been made to the Bill, including changes to provisions that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) had objected to.
In the initial Bill, one of the provisions stated that the rules, regulations, bylaws and Constitutions of the former GCB are replaced by the Constitution of the GCB and further that “each and every office established under the rules, regulations, bylaws and Constitutions” of the former GCB shall cease to exist at the commencement of this Act.
The passage of the Bill will also bring to an end the life of an Interim Management Committee which was established following a court battle and the acting Chief Justice’s ruling in 2011.