Lloyd, Harper: Elections Illegal

Date Published: 
Nagraj Gollapudi

Clive Lloyd and Roger Harper, the two former Guyana and West Indies players, have called the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) elections held on January 27 "illegal" and hit out at the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) for failing to act responsibly.

At the annual general meeting held on the same day, in the presence of two WICB invigilators, the GCB adopted a new constitution while announcing former assistant secretary Drubahadur as the new president.

Protesting the move strongly, both Lloyd and Harper explained that the GCB had violated the orders passed by two different Guyana judges, which had effectively put a ban on holding any elections. According to the duo, the elections could not be called legitimate as not all the representatives of the GCB had voted, so there was no "quorum" as such.

"There is an injunction in place so they [GCB] cannot operate. The judges made a ruling and you cannot flout the laws of the country," Lloyd told ESPNcricnfo. "To me any time you have elections, everybody should take part. [But] Berbice wasn't there, a great part of Demerara wasn't there, so the elections could not be legal as such."

The GCB is made up of three main counties: Demerara Cricket Board (DCB), Berbice and Essequibo Cricket Board. Lloyd said to hold elections, you need a level-playing field, something that was apparently absent last Sunday at the Georgetown Cricket Club pavilion, the venue for the elections.

"What happened is the true reflection of the people who are trying to grab power in Guyana cricket. It was illegal," Harper, who is the president of the Georgetown Cricket Association, one of the four constituents of the DCB, said. East Bank Demerara Cricket Association, West Demerara Cricket Association and East Coast Cricket Board being are the other three constituents.

In 2011 the West Demerara-East Bank Demerara combine filed a case against the Georgetown-East Coast group, saying that the latter should stop acting as part of the DCB. But Justice Bovel-Drakes, after hearing all arguments in his chambers, said the case should be contested in normal court and in the interim ordered that neither party should represent the DCB.

Last week, after the GCB had set up a special committee to hold the elections, the Georgetown-East Coast faction went to court in protest.

"The same guys who were setting up the committee and calling for elections were involved in the earlier case directly," Harper said. The judge, Diane Insanally, passed an injunction stating the rival faction [East Bank-West Demerara] could not act as representatives of the DCB at the GCB elections. "And therefore GCB elections should not have a quorum because only Essequibo attended with Berbice refusing to come."

Harper hit out at the WICB for allowing the election to go ahead under the circumstances: "Knowing the problems in Guyana it was the responsibility of the WICB, as a parent body, to ensure that the people attending the elections as delegates were entitled to be there. It was the WICB's responsibility to make sure the elections were free and fair and above board."

This is the latest chapter in the Guyana cricket conflict, which sprung up after the disputed 2011 GCB elections. Consequently, the Guyana government dissolved the GCB and appointed an interim management committee (IMC) with Lloyd as the chairman. His job was to draw up a new constitution that would help develop Guyana cricket. However, the WICB rejected the IMC, saying it was following the ICC stance on not supporting any government interference.

Lloyd said he was disappointed by the WICB's deafening silence on the matter. "The WICB cannot condone such a situation. You are in charge of cricket and you should see that such a thing did not happen," he said. "The point is everybody must take part if you want a true cricket board. We want accountability."

Last year Lloyd stepped down as non-member director of the WICB, citing his role at the WICB was clashing with his loyalty towards Guyana.

Lloyd said his panel has drawn up the constitution, as directed, along with a development plan. The only thing pending is a forensic audit. That report will be studied by a government-appointed Select Committee, the interviews for which will begin soon according to Lloyd.

"Once the committee has covered all the ground, it will be forwarded to the parliament and once it is passed as a law, we will have fresh elections where everybody should take part," Lloyd said. "That to me is free and fair."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo