Cricket Bill To Get 2nd Hearing

Date Published: 
02-Oct-2013
Source: 
Guyana Times
Author: 
Rajiv Bisnauth

Sport Minister Dr Frank Anthony remains optimistic that the second reading of the Cricket Administration Bill will receive the requisite attention from the National Assembly when parliament reconvenes later this month.

The Bill was brought up for discussion in the National Assembly on August 7, but was deferred until the parliamentary recess ends later this month.

As you know the report has been completed and I hope as soon we resume in parliament this would be one of the things that will go on the parliamentary agenda. We have completed all the work in the parliamentary sub-committee and we had it ready to be tabled in parliament itself, but unfortunately on the last day of parliament we had a back agenda and that bill did not come up,” Anthony said during an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

We hope when parliament resumes we will bring that bill further,” the minister concluded.

The bill seeks to establish the GCB and county boards as corporate bodies and was tabled by government in December 2012 in a bid to end the impasse over the national game here. In the Bill there are provisions for the drafting of new constitutions for the GCB, the Demerara, Berbice and the Essequibo cricket boards.

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. Chief Justice Ian Chang threw out the matter on the grounds that all of the associations embroiled in the matter were legal non-entities and had been so from the inception. Therefore, they could not sue or be sued. The bill, tabled by Anthony, seeks to remedy this.

Major changes

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 document, one of the provisions stated that the “rules, regulations, bylaws and constitutions of the former Guyana Cricket Board are replaced by the Constitution of the Guyana Cricket Board” and further that “each and every office established under the rules, regulations, bylaws and constitutions of the former Guyana Cricket Board shall cease to exist at the commencement of this Act.”

This provision was the crux of the cricket impasse since the WICB maintained that it will not recognise any dissolution of the GCB, regarded as the body to carry out the mandate of the WICB.

In relation to elections to the executive committee, Part 11, Clause 7 of the bill states that the first elections shall be held in accordance with Section 17 on the date appointed in writing by the minister acting in consultation with the WICB. Further, the minister, after meaningful consultations with the WICB, shall be responsible for the appointment of a cricket Ombudsman, who shall be responsible for the verification of the Register of Clubs and for performing the functions of Returning Officer.

Following the first election, the bill makes it clear that the minister has no part to play in respect of the holding of subsequent elections of the GCB and the election and appointment of the ombudsman. The ombudsman, the bill says, shall hold office for a period of three years after he/she has been elected by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting at an extraordinary meeting of the GCB.

Books

The bill makes provision for the books of the GCB and county boards to be audited and the report shall be laid before the National Assembly within a month of the completion of the audit. The bodies, not later than May 31 every year, shall present to the National Sports Commission copies of the auditor’s report and the annual report on its work and activities for the period of 12 months preceding the date of the report, and the plan of action and activities of the Board for the ensuing 12 months.

Meantime, the Constitution of the GCB sets out term limits for the president who shall serve for a period not exceeding three terms. A term is two years.  There are no term limits for other executive committee members.

If the bill is passed fresh elections will have to be held.

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