Providence scrapped as venue for third Test

ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Government interference in the running of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) has forced the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to scrap the National Stadium at Providence as the venue for the third Test against New Zealand later this month.

At the centre of the controversial decision is the Cricket Administration Bill which was passed last month in Guyana’s parliament, and which seeks to make several changes to cricket administration in the country.

However, the WICB late Saturday expressed “serious reservations” about the Bill, contending that it “thrusts the administration of cricket in Guyana from an independent body to the Government of Guyana”.

“This the WICB views as undesirable and inconsistent with International Cricket Council tenets,” the board said in a statement.

The WICB also said it had raised concerns with President Donald Ramotar on the issue but had failed to receive any assurances the bill would not be signed into law.

“The Board gave its commitment that once His Excellency President Ramotar provided such an undertaking all arrangements in Guyana will be kept in place,” the Board statement continued.

“Regrettably the WICB has not received such an undertaking from His Excellency President Ramotar. As a consequence the WICB is left with no option but to relocate the Third Test between West Indies and New Zealand from Guyana.”

The board said it regretted having to move the Test from Guyana and would continue to review the situation in the country.

CMC Sports understands that St Lucia’s Beausejour Cricket Stadium is the frontrunner to host the June 26-30 game.

This is the second time in three years the WICB has pulled a Test from the Guyana National Stadium because of political interference in the GCB. In 2012, the third Test against Australia was moved to Dominica’s Windsor Park.

Regional first class games scheduled for the National Stadium that year were also relocated to Dominica.

Last month, Guyana lawmakers passed the controversial Cricket Administration Bill, amidst disagreement from the GCB who had earlier this year attempted to block its passage in court.

According to the Government Information Service, the legislation paves the way for the GCB to be established as a corporate body, and provides for audited financial reports to be submitted to parliament, as well as the National Sports Commission.

The Bill also creates a position of ombudsman – appointed by the Minister of Sports – who will be responsible for the verifying and registering of clubs with the view of enhancing the transparency of elections.

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