Former West Indies middle order batsman Basil Butcher was one of several persons calling for an end to the cricket fiasco in Guyana.
Butcher made the call whilst giving brief remarks at the Berbice Cricket Board’s seventh annual awards ceremony Saturday evening at the St Francis Training Centre, Rose Hall Town Corentyne.
“Cricket has suffered for too long and its time we sort it out for once and for all, cricket has nothing to do with government, but the government has a lot to do with cricket, so the government must sort this predicament out,” said the West Indies legend.
Cricket, said Butcher, was more than just a game for Berbicians, Guyanese and peoples of the Caribbean.
“It is part of our culture, our pride and our tradition,” he stated, adding that cricket unites and transcends race and religion.
“It is rather paradoxical that a game that gives us so much pleasure, fun and joy could also cause so much rancour, hatred and animosity,” he added.
Also calling for a resolution to the crisis which has resulted in a fractured Guyana Cricket Board was Minister of Housing and Water Irfan Ali who delivered the feature address.
In delivering the address, Ali stated that because cricket was such an integral part of the Guyanese culture, the government stood ready to work in whatever way it could to ensure that the sport does not suffer.
“We, the government, believe that the priority should be cricket. It should be no individual, it should be no grouping, it should be cricket and we need everyone who have cricket at their heart to allow the selfish desires, to allow individualistic desires to be removed and let the collective good of cricket be heartened through which we look to revive the cricketing aspects of sport in Guyana.”
Apart from Butcher and Ali’s calls, former Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) vice-president and current East Coast Cricket Board (ECCB) President Bissoondyal Singh made a strong appeal to the combined opposition to support the Cricket Administration Bill stating that the passage of the bill will serve in the interest of the professional management of the game at all levels.
“The bill is extremely important since it will bring an end to the rigged elections, lack of accountability, the mismanagement, the confusion and the chaos. The bill therefore will set the ‘pitch’ for the success of our cricket,” said Singh.
The ECCB president, stated that cricket in Guyana over the past four years has been in the most disastrous state in the history of the game nationally.
Minister Ali lauded the BCB for their excellent work over the years, stating that Berbice has the greatest potential for Guyana and West Indies cricket in terms of earning revenue and expanding the cricketing base for Guyana and West Indies.
“You are the closest and most direct link to Suriname; cricket is now developing in that country, if we can invest correctly in Berbice cricket and this investment not only at the local level, but at the regional level then we can use Berbice cricket as the catalyst through which we create a new market into Suriname for cricket,” he said.
“I think the Berbice administrators should look at this, to develop their strategic plans and goals around this geographic asset they have,” Ali concluded.
Parliamentarian and NCN Berbice executive Fizul Jafferally congratulated the BCB for the manner in which it manages the affairs of cricket in Berbice. He noted that as a result of the way Berbice cricket is managed, the board is in a position to produce more cricketers at the highest level.
He stated that the government acknowledged the important of the game in the Ancient County, and to this end, some $60 million was spent to rehabilitate 30 grounds last year in Berbice, while expressing his dissatisfaction with the way cricket is been managed locally.
President of the BCB, Keith Foster, in his brief remarks said despite the lack of financial assistance from the GCB for the past four years, the BCB has strived beyond its standard. He praised his executives and urged them to continue the good work to achieve the goals set out by the board.
Foster, who is serving his last team in office, also congratulated all the awardees and implored that school should be a priority. “Take your school seriously, since there is a life beyond cricket,” Foster said.
Also making brief remarks was Human Resource Manager of the Albion Estate, Vemen Walter, who echoed that the BCB has been doing an outstanding job in promoting the game not only in Berbice, but countrywide. He called on the awardees to use the award as a means of inspiration and at the same time urged the administrators to continue to promote the game.
The impressive ceremony showed a reflection of Berbice’s cricket on and off the field.
Over 30 awards were presented to outstanding cricketers, administrators and donors who performed exceptionally during the past year to help keep Berbice cricket at the heights it has reached in making the county proud.
Saturday’s ceremony saw West Indies left arm spinner Veersammy Permaul and West Indies Women’s all-rounder Shemaine Campbell copping the male and female cricketers-of-the-year awards respectively.
While Permaul and Campbell received the Berbice Male and Female Cricketer of the Year awards, Under-15 Cricketer of the Year (Adrian Sukhwah), Under-17 Cricketer of the Year (Brandon Prasad), Under-19 Cricketer of the Year (Gudakesh Motie), Disciplined Female Player (Tremayne Smartt), Most Disciplined Player (Sharaz Ramcharran), Best Domestic Coach (Winston Smith), Inter County Coach (Hubern Evans), Umpire of the Year (Moses Ramlall), Most Promising Player (Balchand Baldeo), Most Improved Player (Askay Homraj), West Berbice Junior Cricketer of the Year (Derick Narine Jnr), New Amsterdam/Canje Junior Cricketer of the Year (Shimron Hetmyer), Lower Corentyne Junior Cricketer of the Year (Gudakesh Motie), Upper Corentyne Junior Cricketer of the Year (Dion Esau).
Albion Cricket Club won the Club of the Year award, while special awards went to Imran Mokan for his elevation to the West Indies Regional panel and the Upper Corentyne Cricket Association for their remarkable stewardship of cricket in the Upper Corentyne area.
Hilbert Foster gave a review of the board’s 2013 activities.