Raphael On GCB Presidency
As the countdown for the race for the Guyana Cricket Board’s (GCB) top position continues, prominent sports administrators have given their views on those vying for the post. Three candidates have indicated their interest to serve Guyana’s cricket for the next two years. They are the present GCB Vice President, Bissoondyal Singh, GCB Marketing Manager, Ramsay Ali and former GCB Secretary Bishwa Panday, who has declared that he would only contest for the GCB presidency if the three county boards share his vision of a new era for Guyana’s cricket.
However, Chairman of the National cricket selectors, Claude Raphael has been the latest sports administrator to give his views on the presidential race. Raphael, who has been involved in cricket administration since 1983, when he became president of the Malteenoes Sports Club, a position in which he served for 20 years, revealed through an e-mail, his views on those vying for the GCB Presidency.
“Mr. Ali was elected to the position of Marketing Manager of the Demerara Cricket Board in 2005 and attended just one meeting of the Executive Committee out of 21. As marketing manager he failed to secure a single sponsor for Demerara’s cricket.
In 2007 he was elected GCB’s marketing manager and has held the position since then. Mr. Ali attended four general meetings out of 12 and 16 out of 48 Executive Committee meetings. His modus operandi is "come late and leave early". In 2009 he was elected marketing manager of the East Bank Cricket Association in his absence. I understand that as vice president of the Guyana Table Tennis Association the highlight of his tenure was repeated absence from meetings.
As GCB Marketing Manager Mr. Ali never held a meeting of the subcommittee that he chairs. He has never submitted a report or a work plan to the GCB executive. His attempts at fund-raising for the GCB were:
- T20 cricket festival involving Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, USA and Guyana. This activity netted $600,000 from a $14,000,000 investment.
- T20 grudge matches against Trinidad and Tobago realised $14,000,000 when the projected profit was $26,000,000
- All inter-county matches held at the Providence Stadium under the supervision of Mr. Ali were colossal failures. There was poor attendance at these games occasioned by poor promotion. The board suffered financially as a result.
Under his stewardship as marketing manager the board lost the following sponsors:
- Baron Foods (First Division clubs 50-overs)
- Neal and Massy (First Division clubs 40-overs)
- Republic Bank ( Under-15 clubs)
- Gafoor (First Division clubs)
Though he indicated that he had acquired a dedicated sponsor for female cricket, we are yet to know who this sponsor is even after nearly two years. Because of the fact that Mr. Ali came to the board with experience in the corporate world in 2008 he was charged with the responsibility of setting up a mentoring programme for the young players. This has not been done to date.
Mr. Ali was also responsible for the establishment of the GCB website two years ago. The website was up for a while but is now a non-functioning embarrassment of the board. At a meeting in May 2010 with the Culture, Youth and Sport Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, Mr. Ali undertook to address the ‘two constitutions’ issue and to take steps to effect constitutional reform. To date, as far as I am aware, nothing has been done.
In his quest for the office of GCB president Mr.Ali should firstly explain to the cricketing public and the electorate the reason for his separation from Banks DIH Ltd and Cell Star. Armed with the above information the electorate can only come to one conclusion.
Mr. Panday, I would like to think, is my friend. He is a very successful businessman and a person who is always willing to share with the less fortunate. One can always rely on him to contribute to a needy cause. He served as secretary of the GCB for 17 years while Mr. Singh was president and should have taken that opportunity to make his mark. Mr. Panday supported all of Chetty’s ideas. He then is equally culpable as Chetty for the current state of play.
Bish should consider passing on his knowledge and lending his skill to a younger person in the same way as he did after demitting office as president of Georgetown Cricket Association. The old brigade must bow out gracefully and give way to the new cadre of young capable cricket administrators a la Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club.
Mr. Bissoondyal Singh is a young, bright, energetic and very personable individual with excellent administrative skills who played club cricket in the 1980s. He manages his own business and has a passion for the game. He is willing to learn. He may make mistakes but it is up to us the older heads to assist him as we move forward.
I feel that the members, the delegates and the general public should rally around Mr. Bissoondyal Singh. Support his team and support his programmes. Of the three he is our best choice for moving our cricket forward. Our cricket needs new young dynamic leadership. I will deal with the positions of secretary and treasurer in a follow up article.”
The Annual General Meeting and elections of the GCB will take place on Sunday, January 30, at the Georgetown Cricket Club pavilion.