Bourda may be merged with GFC for football facility

The future of the Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) ground, Bourda seems bleak where cricket is concerned following reports that executives of the club had talks with government officials on a possible merger with the Georgetown Football Club (GFC) for a football facility.

Stabroek News learnt from sources yesterday that talks were held at the Office of the President last month where there was discussion on having the neighbouring grounds merged into a major football facility.

It was also learnt that consideration is seriously being given by the executives to have such a facility constructed.

The source also mentioned that one of the negotiators acting on behalf of the government was Presidential Advisor Odinga Lumumba, who is also President of Alpha United Club.

Lumumba, when contacted yesterday said that the Sport Minister Dr. Frank Anthony should be contacted but efforts to reach Anthony for a comment were futile.

Meanwhile, when Stabroek Sport contacted some executives of the GCC they were all tightlipped on the issue.

GCC Vice President Ramsay Ali said that the matter is a sensitive one and he could not make any comments until the Ordinary General Meeting is held today to update the general membership at the GCC pavilion.

“I don’t think it is wise to discuss this matter at this time but we will issue a statement after tomorrow’s [today’s] meeting,” Ali stated.

On the other hand, some members of the GCC who requested anonymity expressed their dissatisfaction that the home of the oldest cricket ground in the Caribbean would come to such an end should plans go ahead.

They said that no one should support such an alteration of the world-renowned Bourda sward.

“As a matter of fact I think that this move should be vigorously opposed and besides I think that such a consideration to transform and merge the two facilities is tantamount to people not caring about the legacy they are destroying,” one source emphasised.

Further, another source believes that the GCC executive is exhibiting “poor leadership” in even conducting the talks. The source also opined that the executive should have rejected the proposal from the inception.

Additionally, the source said that it “would not have been any disrespect to say no to the government’s request, especially if the rich heritage of the Bourda ground is considered.”

The source believes that the move to merge also hinges on the fact that the GCC club is allegedly operating without a treasurer and  the coffers are a bit strained after massive renovation works to the bar area. The source noted also that although it is just a hunch “it is not right to take such a position of negotiating to have the two facilities merged.”

A source at the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) said that he has heard the rumblings and he believes that a merger should not happen. He also believes that the historic site should not be altered in such a manner and he feels that if the GCB is asked to intervene it would express its opposition to the idea.

Meanwhile, yesterday when Stabroek Sport visited the GCC ground a clean-up crew was clearing debris from the Laparkan and Clive Lloyd stands. Areas around the boundary were completely inundated following the heavy rainfall.

The poor-draining Bourda ground has a capacity of around 22,000 and was opened in 1884. The venue hosted its firs Test match in February 1930 between West Indies and England. The Caribbean side won by 289 runs and George Headley scored a century in each innings.

Cricket matches between Trinidad & Tobago and GCC were also played there from as early as 1883, and later between GCC and teams from Britain in 1895 and 1897. It hosted its first Test in February 1930 against England.

The ground did not host matches for the 2007 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup, but there had been a proposal to have the GCC and GFC merged and made into a stadium but that did not materialise.

The Guyanese authorities, at that time, insisted that Bourda remain a first class venue after the Guyana National Stadium was built at Providence for the world cup cricket.

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