Who Will Replace Chetty?

Date Published: 
Guyana Chronicle
Calvin Roberts

THE stewardship of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) will be up for grabs at the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is set for January 30 in the GCB’s Regent Road boardroom, since present president Chetram ‘Chetty’ Singh, who has been at the helm for the past 19 years, has decided not to seek reelection. Readily, three names come to mind with regard to the best possible candidate to run Guyana’s cricket and that is the present vice-president and head of the GCB’s Cricket Development Committee (CDC) Bissoondyal Singh, Marketing Officer Ramsay Ali and former secretary Bishwa Panday.

In an interview that was done three months ago, Panday, who was also the president of the Georgetown Cricket Association (GCA), told Chronicle Sport, said he would run for the presidency if the members feel he is good enough to do so.

In all fairness, I don’t know if I will contest the presidential race for the GCB at the next elections, but I am always available to serve cricket and others sports as well. In fact, I have always been a supporter of sports in Guyana as well as a servant of cricket and I would be available to continue serving Guyana’s cricket if it’s the members' wish for me to do so.

Panday, who is also a former WICB director and was involved in cricket administration for the past 30 years, said that the running of the GCB or any administrative office is not all about the leader, but his support staff, while referring to his vibrant support staff he had under his stewardship of the GCA.

Ali, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sterling Products Limited (SPL), has been in charge of the GCB’s Marketing Department for the past 4 years and like Panday, has as an advantage the ability to sell the game to corporate Guyana, with an aim of attracting sponsors for the various age groups.

In another section of the media, Ali said the winning back of the support of the entire cricket fraternity was a major concern of his; hence his decision to contest the presidency of the GCB. Ali was also looking at engaging former players at both the county and national level, to be a part of his planning, with regard to the development of cricket in Guyana, something that is really needed at this point in time for Guyana’s cricket.

While Singh’s manifesto is not known, what both Panday and Ali have in common for the uplifting of the sport in the Land of Many Waters is the resurrection of schools’ cricket at all levels, as well as strengthening Guyana’s fledgling female cricket.

An added factor that can weigh heavily in favour of Panday and Ali is their ability to attract sponsorship, since Panday has been doing so amicably well while at the helm of the GCA, while Ali has been ensuring the GCB’s sponsors for their various levels of tournaments stay at home.

Another individual who is good at attracting sponsorship for cricket is Berbice Cricket Board’s (BCB) Public Relations Officer (PRO) and Secretary/CEO of Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club (RHTYSC) Hilbert Foster.

Unfortunately, Foster, whose elder brother Keith is the present president of the BCB, has told me on numerous occasions in private before making it public when the BCB signed a G$1M contract with telecommunications giant Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T), his non-desire to contest the presidency of the GCB.

As Panday did mention in his earlier interview, support staff should be competent and cohesive, working together towards achieving the goals and objectives of the association or body that they govern - an attribute that can be related to Foster.

Ever since his ascendancy into the position of PRO with the BCB, over 100 projects, sponsored and financed by corporate Guyana, have been completed, including the historic uniform contract with GT&T and even before he ascended to the role of PRO, many cricket enthusiasts had touted Hilbert Foster as the best possible candidate for the GCB’s presidency.

What needs to be taken into consideration as well is the candidate who will receive the backing of present secretary of the GCB and director of the WICB, Anand Sanasie, who refused to contest for the top position, while many in the fraternity believe his no-nonsense approach is what Guyana cricket needs at this time. Asked to comment on who he will be throwing his support behind, Sanasie was not hesitant in saying Ali, since he believes his business knowledge accrued over the years, can serve Guyana’s cricket amicably in the future.

Chetty has been the president for the past 19 years and under his tenure, Guyana won both the inaugural Stanford T20 in 2006 and the WICB T20 this year, along with being the first team to win the WICB/KFC-sponsored Regional 50 overs tournament in 2005. His yeoman service to Guyana’s cricket should not go unnoticed by those in authority and I would like to encourage the new president to give this administrative stalwart (only Colin Klass can be compared in terms of time served), a honourable farewell as soon as possible.

A strong and vibrant president, who should be proactive and not reactive, is needed to take our cricket out of the doldrums, especially at the senior level where our boys have been performing so badly, that even the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) are recording victories over us, at times, inside three days. Added to that, Guyana have not reached the final four of any WICB limited overs tournament since 2007 when we lost to Jamaica in the semifinals at the Three Ws Oval, in Barbados and the U-turn of our fortunes at the senior level should be one of the things on the mind of the new president.

Whether it is Bissoondyal Singh, Ali or Panday, the position must be filled and as Panday said, it’s not about the president, but the support staff which should be a cohesive, cooperative and competent unit, as certainly that’s what Guyana’s cricket is desperately in need of.