The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is the biggest culprit in this whole saga as they have failed to do what was required of them being the parent body responsible for cricket in the region.
That is, according to Claude Raphael, former chairman of selectors of the Guyana Cricket Board.
Raphael, in an exclusive interview with Stabroek Sport at his Charlotte Street Office, said he was surprised that there were elections to name a new executive to manage cricket in Guyana after all the illegalities that were discovered and given that the board has been injuncted.
“That is what is surprising to me, the mere fact that there are so many contentious issues with regards to the illegality of Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) officials and the fact that they have been injuncted, particularly, raises questions as to whether they were eligible or legally had the authority to call elections, but I don’t think they had. I am sure they didn’t, given all the legal ramifications of the situation,” the former Malteenoes Sports Club president told Stabroek Sport.
Raphael said it was even more disturbing when the WICB sent in an observatory group for the elections.
“To my mind given the history that has happened over the past two years one would expect that any representative from the West Indies Board would have come in a few days before, to make sure that all the voters, delegates, conditions and circumstances under which elections called were properly and thoroughly checked. And to verify with other stakeholders what was the state of play before the actual activity of conducting the voting in that part of the elections,” he said.
That that was not done cast a cloud of doubt on the entire process, said Raphael.
“It gives me the impression therefore that the whole thing was just a sham, was more of a mask to hide the real intention of the West Indies board, to just support a particular group irrespective of whether they were right or wrong, irrespective of whether it was legal or illegal. Maybe it’s because the West Indies Board stands to benefit for their upcoming elections from these particular people,” he suggested.
According to Raphael, the WICB’s decision to appoint two directors from Guyana even before elections were held locally further puts the process in disrepute which does not rest well with him.
“The West Indies Board’s pronouncement of the directors just prior to the elections and the sending of observers also gives cause for concern because I really don’t understand how you could appoint two directors a week or so before the elections and not know how the elections will go, unless you knew how it was going to turnout.
“So those factors give me reason to believe that the whole process was staged, it was preconceived and deliberately set to ensure that a particular set of individuals were installed as the Guyana Cricket Board irrespective of all the legal implications, injunctions and all the illegality that prevailed over the system before.”
He went on to add:”This entire saga could have been finished had the WICB done what it was expected of it. We did ask for their help in the initial stages of this whole dilemma two years ago. Unfortunately and surprisingly, Mr. Hunte (Julian) and his guys came in here on two occasions, never sought any audience with the opposition elements to the board. We did indicate to them that the elections were not free and fair and that there were financial and other administrative lawlessness on the Guyana Cricket Board. A quick survey, he said will show that the cricketers who form the different teams to represent the nation, are drawn from the Berbice Cricket Board, the East Coast Demerara Cricket Board and the Georgetown Cricket Association, all of which were left out of the election process, not from the boards that the group of men purporting to be the Guyana Cricket Board.
“It is very, very clear who is organizing and running cricket but this board intends to stay on top irrespective of the fact that they are not organizing anything, not producing any cricketers and yet they want to dominate and control the whole process,” Raphael argued.
Raphael said the WICB should have taken a page out of FIFA’s book.
“They (FIFA/CONCACAF) met all parties, they did not come and meet one side and left out the other side; they met everybody. I really cannot understand and accept that, the West Indies Board must exhibit maturity and fair play irrespective of its politics, just as FIFA did when they came here.”
Raphael explained that there is also the matter of the constitution.
“I don’t know which constitution was given to Mr. Riley (Conde). We don’t know which one he looked at and said it was in keeping with the regulations? Which constitution he looked at? Not only that, was that constitution approved by other stakeholders, so there are many questions that we need answered. The elections were definitely illegal; there was no way that a legal Demerara Board could have voted at the GCB elections. And, of course, there was an injunction preventing the Demerara Board from having it’s elections to get a board.”
Addressing the length of time it is taking the proper authorities to institute contempt charges against the officials who are said to be disregarding an order of the court; Raphael said that it seems that the individuals purporting to be managing the affairs of cricket in Guyana are taking advantage of a court system which appears to be very slow.
The Guyana Cricket Board on Sunday held its election which saw Drubadahur being elected to head that body. The Raj Singh faction of the Demerara Cricket Board along with the Essequibo Cricket Board was the two bodies that participated in those elections. Conde Riley a director on the WICB was here to observe those elections. He later said that the elections were above board.