Can we really go any lower than the bottom of the barrel? That is the question all cricket lovers in Guyana need to ask themselves as our beloved national game undergoes a slow but painful death. In all my career as a cricket administrator I have never witnessed such a general feeling of depression and lack of hope for the future. What took decades of hard work, commitment and discipline from the likes of B Gaskin, Fred Wills, Leslie Amsterdam, Joe Solomon, Mortimer George, Norman McLean and others, have been destroyed in a matter of few years by power-hungry and clueless administrators who have no passion for the game of cricket.
Last week I returned to the Rose Hall Town Youth & Sports Club and the Berbice Cricket Board after a one-month overseas vacation, to discover that the sad saga continues as a phantom group is organising Inter-county matches and selecting Guyana teams. No one including the players knows who the selectors of the teams are, and who is responsible for their welfare while based at the Chetram Singh Hostel. Inter-county matches are being played without any fanfare, press coverage or promotion, and no presentation ceremonies. Can anyone in god’s name tell me what is going on? An Under-19 team for Guyana without Loyydel Lewis, Surujnarine Kandasammy or Linden Austin who all played last year and, to make matters worse their replacements, are a mystery to the most experienced cricket followers. You cannot question the selections because no one is aware of who the selectors are, although there is a huge suspicion that the teams are being selected by one man who refuses to sign his name on the official list. When spoken to by the parent of Loyydel Lewis he claimed to be unaware of Lewis’s cricketing credentials, despite being one of the selectors who selected him in 2011 to represent Guyana at the Under-19 level. Lewis, Austin and Kandasammy are all outstanding cricketers and have been outstanding at all levels for their clubs in Berbice, and have far better cricketing credentials than those currently representing our country.
To add salt to the wound for Berbicians, Shemaine Campbelle the most celebrated female cricketer ever produced by Guyana, has been bypassed for both the captaincy and deputy position, despite having served two years as the national female captain and leading from the front. Fellow West Indies players Erva Giddings, Subrina Munroe and Tremayne Smartt were also bypassed for leadership roles, despite being better qualified than those selected. The shocking selection has been the bypassing of fourteen-year-old Phaffiana Millington who not only played for Guyana last year, but received high praise from cricketing pundits including seasoned journalist Sean Devers. Are we going in the right direction when we got rid of our best players for those who are on the wrong side of age, and are not only non-productive but highly indisciplined?
Editor, may I in my personal capacity express my disappoint in the Interim Management Committee. Both the Guyana Cricket Board and the Interim Management Committee have proved to be great failures, and have let down our young cricketers. Once you accept an official position, it is your duty to make sure that you work to the best of your abilities and be an agent of progress and not destruction. The Rose Hall Town Youth & Sports Club and the Berbice Cricket Board are perfect examples of progress and so far have achieved a combined total of 280 activities – far surpassing their combined target of 215 for the year. The time has come for the nation of Guyana to rise up and reclaim our national game from people who are destroying it. If you really love something, you would walk away from it rather than be involved in its destruction because of personal ambition. Why in god’s name must our young cricketers both male and female be held hostage by people who have no interest in the game of cricket, but rather are involved in its administration for personal glory and prestige? The Berbice Cricket Board, the Georgetown Cricket Association and to a lesser extent the East Coast Cricket Board are the only cricketing associations who seem to have many programmes to develop cricket. I was very disappointed two months ago when I met a fellow cricket administrator at the Stabroek Market and advised him to get involved in programmes like those the Berbice Cricket Board and Rose Hall Town Youth & Sports clubs undertake, he responded that he has no time for those things as the young cricketers have to help themselves. Needless to say, he has time for fighting for power at the national level and for court cases involving cricket.
May I use this medium to appeal to outstanding Guyanese like Bishwa Panday, Alfred Mentore, Ramsey Ali, Alvin Johnson, Bissoondyal Singh, Malcolm Peters, Claude Raphael, Ronald Williams and Prince Holder to get together, sit down and talk to find a solution to this unholy cricket mess. I know most of them personally and know that they care deeply for the game of cricket, and I am confident that they can sit down together, forgive and forget and blaze a trail to success. The motivating factor must be the welfare and future of our youths.