Perreira: Game Must Not Suffer
VETERAN cricket commentator and former Chairman of the National Sports Commission Joseph ‘Reds’ Pereira said yesterday that he hopes the game of cricket does not suffer in Guyana, following the formation of the Interim Management Committee (IMC).
“As I read about the formation of the IMC in the newspapers this morning, straight away my mind turned to what are the implications for cricket in Guyana, along with the players and the cricket loving public in Guyana.”
While taking timeout from autographing his book entitled ‘Living my Dream’ at the Oasis Café yesterday, the former Sports Officer of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) said he hopes the authorities thought it out clearly, before going ahead to form the IMC.
“I gathered that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) had initially indicated their objection towards the establishment of the IMC, while the International Cricket Council (ICC) is very strong on the issue of Government intervention when it comes to the administration of cricket, signaling such to both Pakistan and Sri Lanka that they are not happy their Governments are appointing their cricket boards,” stated Perreira.
The IMC was formed last Thursday, following several court issues involving the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB), to which the Honorable Chief Justice Ian Chang ruled, “It is a matter of common knowledge that there exists a Ministry responsible for Sport in general. This indicates that the State has assumed responsibility for the welfare, promotion and proper administration of sports in Guyana and that, since in the present state of affairs, while a legislative structure for the administration of cricket is desirable, there may be the immediate need for the Minister responsible for sports to impose his executive will in the national interest until such time as Parliament can provide a more permanent welfare structure.”
Following such a decision, former President Bharrat Jagdeo, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony, WICB President Dr. Julian Hunte and ICC Cricket Development Committee Chairman Clive Lloyd held closed doors discussions.
Dr. Anthony later held a meeting with the involving factors of the GCB including its president Ramsay Ali, vice-presidents Alfred Mentore and Faizul Bacchus and Honorary Secretary Anand Sanasie and while the matters discussed in that meeting were not made public, the day to day affairs of the GCB was conducted under the stewardship of Ali, until the announcement of the IMC.
Perreira added, “For a long time, the ICC was silent on issues such as this, until they spoke out with the Sri Lanka and Pakistan issues and how the WICB, who is an affiliate to the ICC, see this is left to be seen, while some Directors have already made responses. The WICB will probably make a response to this issue sometime soon and while I must say that I have the greatest of respect for Lloyd who has been appointed Chairman of the IMC, I would eagerly love to hear his take on this issue, especially knowing that he knows the ICC’s position on same.”
The 67 year old Lloyd has played 110 test matches for the West Indies where he scored 7, 515 runs at an average of 46.67, counting 19 centuries with a highest score of 242 not out against India, while he was widely regarded as the most successful captain in the test arena.
“Lloyd is very close to the ICC and whether that would be a conflict to Guyana’s cricket is left to be seen, but certainly I would love to hear his views on this issue.”
Perreira said one of the matters that has been affecting him with regards to the GCB, is the announcement of it being recognized as a legal non-entity sometime this year, while it operated under the astute leadership of Chetram Singh for close to two decades.
“There are things that rush through my mind as I think about 2012. First of all, the GCB went and got sponsorship for their schools cricket programme along with the commencement of a professional league, which to my mind is an important spoke in the wheel of Guyana’s cricket. But that aside, what if the WICB takes away from Guyana, the first class matches along with the Australian tour of Guyana next April. Also who will run the first class season and the Australian tour that is coming to Guyana, if same is not taken away by the WICB?” quizzed Perreira.
On a broader scale, Perreira is looking at the physiological impact on the present crop of cricketers, especially the squad which is preparing for the WICB Caribbean T20 tournament that bowls off in Antigua on 9th January.
“Apart from the players who are preparing for the CT20, what about Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Devendra Bishoo’s places in the West Indies team, Ramnaresh Sarwan’s comeback – he is good enough to do that once he works hard enough – and even Veerasammy Permaul’s ascendancy to the test side. We also have the energetic Christopher Barnwell who has been a prominent member in the West Indies T20 side, and all the other players who are on the fringe of having a great first class season which can at some point of time in their career, propel them into the Regional side,” stated Perreira.
Perreira questioned the non-intervention of the Ministry of Sport into the present ongoing squabble with Guyana’s football, while lauding the Golden Jaguars for their historic achievement, with regards to the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.
“First of all, let me give kudos to the Golden Jaguars on their advancement in their World Cup qualifying campaign, lifting my hat to acting president of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Franklin Wilson and its Technical Director Jamaal Shabazz.
On the same note, why is it the Ministry of Sport, whose Minister Dr. Frank Anthony and I are good friends, had not intervened in the problems the football fraternity is having, especially the present ongoing feud between the GFF and the Georgetown Football Association (GFA).
The answer is simple, FIFA, the governing body for football does not allow Government’s intervention in their game, a stance taken lately by the ICC and with the Golden Jaguars progressing nicely, I think the Ministry of Sport was looking keenly before they tread with regards to that sport,” alluded Perreira.
Looking back at his speech made at the recently held 15th Annual GCB Awards ceremony, Perreira reiterated the plea for national healing when it comes to Guyana’s cricket, while saying the IMC is not the way to do so.
“Some may be fighting for the baton to control cricket in Guyana for reasons only they themselves are aware of, but in the long run, the formation of the IMC which is a no-no with the ICC, can have serious implications on Guyana’s cricket.
I wish to urge those in authority to closely look at the way forward before moving forward with the IMC and while they say that the GCB is a non-legal entity, I beg to remind them that that same non-legal entity operated smoothly under past president Chetram Singh for close to two decades without much hiccups.
Many persons will be affected from the formation of the IMC, including the most important individuals of any cricket game, the umpires, since they will not be able to make any upward progression without WICB appointments,” Perreira stated.
He called on the Ministry of Sport to look closely at the home of Rohan Kanhai in Port Mourant and to a wider extent the Corentyne village which produced several prominent West Indies cricketers in the caliber of John Trim, Basil Butcher, Alvin Kallicharran, Joe Solomon and Mahendra Nagamootoo.
“Apart from Port Mourant, we have Unity another village which produced Colin Croft, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Chetram Singh and even former President of Guyana Bharrat Jagdeo and New Amsterdam which along with Port Mourant can be historical tour sites for the young children.
We also have the Blairmont Community Centre ground which I pleaded to have renamed the Roy Fredericks ground and Parade ground here in Georgetown, the venue for Guyana (then British Guiana’s) first four first class matches, things that needed to be made historical and preserved for the young generation,” said Perreira.
An emotional Perreira called on the authorities to revisit the formation of the IMC, saying he is worried not only for Guyana’s cricket, but the potential damage that can be done following the setting up of the said IMC.