Gov’t to submit merger proposal for GCC, GFC

-Bourda members concerned about planned exclusion of cricket

By Marlon Munroe
The government is to submit a comprehensive proposal outlining its vision for the possible merger of the historic Georgetown Cricket Club ground, Bourda, and the Georgetown Football Club to create a sports facility.

According to reports, if this proposal which was described as exploratory is accepted by the executive of the GCC the facility will have a synthetic track for athletics and a football field in the centre.

But if this proposal is accepted there will not be enough space for cricket to be played at the Caribbean’s oldest ground.

When Stabroek Sport contacted Sport Minister Dr. Frank Anthony yesterday he said that a meeting with the club’s executive was explora-tory in nature but the government will be providing a written proposal.

Until that time, he said, it would give the GCC executive the opportunity to iron out issues and concerns about the proposal.

Anthony also contended that since the Bourda ground does not host international matches now, a merger will signal a developmental move. Further, Anthony posited that if international matches are being played the issue of maintaining viability will become a factor and this was one of the matters discussed at the meeting.

When pointed to the historical significance of the Bourda ground which was opened in 1884, Anthony said that “history is just one aspect.”

He added that if the GCC is to remain relevant, then questions on how it will remain viable in order to move forward will be asked.

On the other hand, the GCC executive issued a statement to Stabroek News yesterday saying that the President of the GCC Lionel Jaikaran updated the general membership on the government’s proposal at an Ordinary General meeting last Friday. It stated also that the membership was told that the talks were exploratory and that the government will be presenting a comprehensive document on the proposed merger. It was also stated in the release that upon receipt of the proposal, a special general meeting would be convened to discuss it. Further, it was noted that a concern many of the members had at the meeting was the absence of cricket in this new proposal.  At the meeting it was also noted that “several of the greatest cricketers and cricketing moments in the history of the sport” have been recorded at the ground, which hosted its first Test match in February 1930 between West Indies and England. Some were also concerned about the nursery and senior ranks of the club that train there regularly.

In the statement it was outlined that the GCC executive body shares the concerns of the membership and assured them that the executive will “take no decision on the issue without the general mandate of the membership after voting at a specially convened general meeting.”

Some sources at the club told Stabroek Sport yesterday that they would not be supporting any merger with the GFC, especially because of the history that surrounds the Bourda facility. They said also that many of the other members shared  similar sentiments and they will not be supporting such a move when the proposal is made  in writing.

Several efforts to reach Secretary of the GFC Ivor O’Brien were unsuccessful.

In relation to a report that appeared in last Friday’s edition of Stabroek News on the merger proposal, the GCC statement refuted claims that the club did not have a functioning treasurer and that the club was in financial trouble.

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