GCB Clarifies For Sports Minister

Date Published: 
Kaieteur News
Anand Sanasie

Dear Editor,

The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) notes the Sports Minister’s wishes in the Guyana Chronicle of December 28th 2012 in his article headlined ‘We don’t wish to run the cricket’. We are not sure if this is a reference to his past actions with the operations of the GCB or his New Year’s resolution for 2013 as the substance of the article and his actions are quite contradictory.

Like its parent bodies, the WICB & the ICC, the GCB has continued to categorically state its strong objection to the involvement of the Government in the administration of cricket in Guyana or for that matter in any other cricket playing country around the world. The ICC has given its members a moratorium up to June 2013 to get their houses in order before they take strong measures similar to FIFA against any such members.

This information has been provided to the Sports Minister on more than one occasion but he has chosen to ignore same. This Government is fully aware of this rule of the ICC and FIFA, the worldwide governing bodies for cricket and football respectively. Presently, FIFA has a zero tolerance with government interference in the sport of football, whilst ICC’s position is more of a cautious and transient mode for the next few months.

The WICB has been pellucidly clear in all of its communications and negotiations with this Government and CARICOM during the past year and the GCB has also clearly stated this position ever since the Minister’s initiation of an IMC and his alleged disbanding of the GCB. For the records, we wish to reiterate that both the GCB and the WICB never opposed the formation of an IMC to serve in an advisory role to the GCB, in fact we openly welcomed same and fully agreed to the CARICOM/WICB/GOG brokered agreement which the Minister refused to sign after days of negotiations with these august bodies.

In this said article, the Honorable Minister also reminded us that the esteemed IMC head, Clive Lloyd, publicly stated “his body’s unwillingness to take over the administration of the game”. The GCB finds this statement most troubling and contradictory for both the Minister & Mr. Lloyd to be reiterating. It is public knowledge that the IMC has been selecting teams for WICB regional tournaments and arranging practice matches for his squad during the past year clearly acting upon instructions of his employer, the Sports Minister and the Government of Guyana and creating unnecessary confusion in the minds of the players.

Mr. Lloyd also responds to the media when he is questioned about the recent selection of the T20 squad for training that he has to consult with the President about this matter even though he was employed as the Advisor to the President on sports. This then begs the following questions:

  • What work was completed by the IMC after more than a year of its appointment?
  • What advices, if any, have this Committee or its Head provided to the President during his employment on cricket.
  • Has the GOG conducted a review of Mr. Lloyd’s employment during his period of employment and assessed whether they have obtained value for our tax dollars?
  • Is the GOG still paying Mr. Lloyd for his services whilst spinning same as Mr. Lloyd’s commitment and loyalty to this country?
  • How much did this appointment cost the taxpayers of this country?
  • Are there any other members of the IMC that are being paid? The taxpayers would like to know how much money was spent or will be spent on the IMC during its tenure.
  • How much taxpayers’ dollars has the Minister spent on legal fees to persecute the GCB and its officers?
  • Where is the National Sports Policy produced by Canadian consultant Dr. Hick, and financed by the UNDP, after consultations with all the sporting entities in Guyana? Did this document not find favour with the Minister?

It should be pointed out that the GCB is always willing to sit and deal with any issues that is affecting any of its member Boards and in this regard has appointed a Special subcommittee to deal with the issues surrounding the Demerara Cricket Board (DCB) since this is where the problem at the GCB originated. This Special subcommittee has been holding regular meetings during the holidays and reviewing all the historical documents and videos of the events that led to this state of affairs in this member Board. In accordance with the constitution of the DCB, this Subcommittee has already scheduled the AGM to be held in the month of January 2013 and plans to oversee this important event in strict accordance with its rules and constitution.

We are constantly mind boggled by the shifting positions of this Minister and his Government. He started out disbanding the GCB supposedly on the advices obiter dicta by the acting CJ that the GCB was a legal nonentity, while totally ignoring the very orbiter dicta advices that the Berbice, Essequibo and Demerara Cricket Boards and all of their subsidiaries are also legal nonentities. We have been at pains to explain to all and sundry what the CJ meant by this statement.

This does not render the GCB as an illegal entity since it is an organization that has existed for decades and has been governed and operated by its rules and constitution like several other sporting and non-sporting organizations such as: the GFF, GABA, GHF, GTTA, PPP/C, PNC/R, WPA and AFC. Mr. Lloyd himself was a product of this supposedly illegal outfit, the GCB.

What was needed at this juncture was for the Government to introduce legislation into Parliament that would simply make them legal entities thus allowing them to be able to sue and to be sued. This is what the TT government did with its national cricket board, corporatize it by an Act of Parliament, without any mention of any Minister whatsoever in that 2 or 3 page Act.

St Kitts & Nevis also has a similar Act for its Olympic Committee that essentially corporatizes the entity so that it is now recognized by law in that country to sue and be sued, own property and enter into contracts, as a legal entity. At this point it appears as though the Minister of Sports Frank Anthony intends to legislate a constitution for the GCB that is out of sync with its originally intended purpose and thus totally unacceptable to its membership.

The GCB would like to thank the former President, Mr. Bharat Jagdeo, for bringing most of the parties together in the crafting of a constitution for the GCB. This mediation process took place during the months of October and November 2012 and there was agreement to almost 95% of a complete document with just a few sticking points remaining.

We understand that this was supposed to be the job of the IMC, but the GCB was never consulted by the IMC during ‘its work’, yet the final document was 90% produced by the GCB and not the IMC. Lo and behold, without complete agreement on all sides with a final constitution, the GCB noticed that a Bill was recently laid in Parliament purportedly to control the administration of cricket in Guyana and which said document included a constitution for the GCB.

As the leading stakeholder in such an important Act, the GCB would like to state quite categorically that this body was never consulted on the crafting of any legislation aimed at the administration of cricket in Guyana and, as such, cannot endorse nor support such a document. It is unheard of that the leading stakeholder in a proposed legislation was never consulted.

In addition, the description of the proposed legislation by the Sports Minister in his article seems to be diametrically different from the one that was sent to the WICB. There seems to have been numerous changes and the WICB has already recorded their comments with the one presented to them and this Board fully endorses its parent body’s position on this matter.

The Sports Minister had also misrepresented that the proposed legislation sent to the WICB was similar to the Trinidad Act that corporatized the Trinidad Cricket Board. This situation is totally unacceptable!! We call on the Honorable Minister to come clean on this matter. The Minister should not expect the Joint Opposition or the Select Committee of Parliament to clean up this situation created by him.

Finally, the GCB remains very concerned with the absence of regional and international matches coming to our shores. Since there are so many international venues now available in our region, the usual process adopted by the WICB has always been for the individual territories to all have a chance for the hosting of these matches whilst presenting their case and a budget for same.

This process is usually conducted months in advance of the actual tournaments and matches as there are a lot of arrangements and logistics that have to be dealt with by the WICB. We have already applied to this Minister for the use of the Stadium for these matches that are scheduled to be held in 2013 so that we can negotiate with the WICB but have not received the courtesy of a response.

The Minister needs to understand that irrespective of which administration is in charge of cricket in Guyana at the time we would not get any international matches if we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot. Basically, we will not be eligible for the allocation of matches if we cannot guarantee our venue to the WICB. Mr. Frank Anthony’s act of making the National Stadium unavailable for regional and international cricket is the sole reason we will have none in 2013. This process needs the cooperation of the Government with the GCB.

Further, the Minister is on record of writing the WICB directly threatening to influence other governments to withhold the uses of their facilities from the WICB. This very volatile and acrimonious environment has done very little to bring cricket to the cricket starved nation of Guyana. We have already lost out on the hosting of any Regional matches for 2013 and the home advantage for the other regional tournaments (Super 50 & the 4 day tournament).

The WICB is currently looking at the venues for international cricket during 2013 and we are already not featured in the first half of the year. These actions by the Minister against the GCB and WICB are the only reason that regional and international cricket has been removed from Guyana. Should he continue down this path then the WICB will have no alternative but to move their cricket to the other territories where governmental assistance is in abundance.

Anand Sanasie