"Genesis" Of The Crisis
FROM early 2009, the majority of Executive Members of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) started asking searching questions in relation to its operations particularly the financial aspects. Those members recognised that there were serious improprieties being perpetuated at the GCB. However, a minority clique of Executive Members used their privileged offices to deliberately ostracise the others and take control of the decision-making processes of the GCB including and especially the financial management.
Financial Improprieties and Constitutional Illegalities:
- The visa scam – letters were issued by Chetram Singh and Anand Sanasie to persons for the facilitation of visas even though they did not qualify in accordance with the stated criteria of the GCB.
- The Anna Regina and LBI Cricket Hostels – the construction of those hostels was shrouded in secrecy and poorly managed with alarming amounts of over expenditure and faulty works. The LBI hostel began with an estimate of $49M but was completed at a cost of over $100M without the Executive Committee’s approval. This hostel was later discovered to have been built by Sanasie’s contractor. Sanasie did not disclose this important information during the tender process. Yet it was Sanasie who supervised the project, approved all payments and signed the relevant cheques, a disturbingly irregular accounting procedure.
- The monthly financial statements – these were presented at meetings with hardly any time to peruse them. Nevertheless, Assistant Treasurer Pretipaul Jaigobin on many occasions uncovered serious discrepancies in the accounts including:
- An amount of 1.7 million dollars that appeared on one month statement and astonishingly disappeared from the next month’s accounts and were never traced nor were members provided with an explanation.
- At the September 2009 meeting of the GCB Executive Committee, President Chetram Singh reported that the GCB received a grant of US $50,000 from the WICB. This amount was never recorded in any of the financial statements of the Board and no explanation was ever provided.
- In the September 2010 financial statement, an amount of $8,995,000 was declared as an “undeposited sum”. This large amount was subsequently reported to have been put in the Trustees Fund. There is no such fund and the $8,995,000 remains unaccounted for.
- The 2010 GCB audited financial report reflected a huge 43 million dollars difference with the GCB’s monthly financial report.
- An amount of $600,000, disbursed to the Essequibo Cricket Board (ECB) for the 2009 Women’s Cricket Competition, simply vanished although that Competition was never played. Mr. Aotto Christiani who performed the duties of treasurer, secretary and administrator of that Board also provided all the transportation and catering services for cricket in Essequibo.
- The 2011 Pakistan Tour report and finances were never recorded and made available to the GCB Executives. Only two (2) persons were in full charge of all the monies received and expended for that Tour.
The Trinidad vs Guyana grudge matches in August 2010 – these games were played before sell-out crowds and were expected to yield returns in excess of $30M. However, Marketing Manager Ramsey Ali reported that ticket sales grossed only $16,527,000. This large discrepancy was never explained. In an unprecedented move, the persons who manned the gates at those matches were President Chetram Singh, Marketing Manager Ramsey Ali and Secretary Anand Sanasie.
Instead of engaging the customary night deposit system, the takings were kept at a business place of one of the above three on the East Bank of Demerara.
- An amount of $4,100,000 was supposedly expended for cricket balls yet this amount was never accounted for in the GCB’s financial-report neither were the balls delivered.
Jaigobin’s Unrelenting Probe Answered with Acid Attack
One of the persons who was particularly vocal in exposing these clear improprieties was the then Assistant Treasurer, Pretipaul Jaigobin. At the May, 2010 Executive Meeting of the Board, Mr. Jaigobin delivered a scathing critique on the financial report and in the process highlighted several glaring inaccuracies and misrepresentations. This angered some of the members of the Committee, one whom exploded with a series of expletives, slammed his fist on the table and walked out while a West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Director issued an audible threat to Mr. Jaigobin. Three days later, Mr. Jaigobin was doused with acid by an assailant who accused him of being a trouble-maker at the GCB.
Mr. Jaigobin spent 42 days in hospital. His family members were threatened that Jaigobin would be “finished off” if he gave the police a statement. During his extended stay in hospital, President Chetram Singh, Vice-President Fizul Bacchus, Secretary Anand Sanasie, Treasurer Shiek Ahmad and Marketing Manager Ramsey Ali never visited Jaigobin.
Jaigobin comes from a humble background, who by dint of hard work and sacrifice qualified as an accountant and is attached to the European Union Task Force through the Ministry of Finance. He is also an ardent cricket fan. Jaigobin and his family have suffered severely because he sought to infuse proper and meaningful accountability in the financial affairs of the GCB. And for that he was almost blinded and is now scarred for life physically, emotionally and psychologically. This must never be allowed to happen again.
The Jaigobin incident clearly illustrates the depth to which Guyana’s cricket has sunk and the criminalisation of our national game. Some extremely desperate people have hijacked our cricket and will stop at nothing to maintain their stranglehold on its administration of cricket.
From the Cricket Stakeholders of Guyana