While outgoing president of the GCB Chetram Singh described his last year in office as controversial, Sport Minister Dr. Frank Anthony followed up by calling on Board officials to desist from the squabbling that is affecting cricket in Guyana.
The minister was speaking at the 16th Guyana Cricket Board awards ceremony at Umana Yana on Wednesday.
The infighting among board executives, which has resulted in two factions, had also prompted Anthony to intervene earlier this year after there were claims of financial impropriety and various other indiscretions.
The minister also called on the administrators to fulfill their roles and to remember the main reason for their appointment to office. He equated the problems of the GCB to a festering sore that is oozing.
“Why is it that you are an administrator? What is your purpose for being on the Board? It is not for some self-serving reason. You are there because we want to see an improvement in Guyana’s cricket. You are there because you want to see the players excel.”
Anthony told them that when they argue among themselves they would lose sight of the most important reason for being there and that is to promote the sport of cricket.
“You cannot have an open wound that is oozing – that is only going to cause the cricket to be infected.
We need to treat the wound, close that chapter, get healed and get on with the business of cricket. That is what the country wants,” Anthony stressed.
He also told the audience, which included current and former cricketers and other public figures, that the problems cannot be wished away but rather a mature stance has to be taken by all. “I hope all you as administrators take that message seriously,” Anthony added.
“Stop the petty quarrelling, stop it! Let’s put the cricket in front of everything else and move on,” the minister charged.
On the other hand, he pointed out that all “conflicts” are not bad if they can show indicators for improvement of the game and its administration. This, according to Anthony, should be seriously considered by all sports administrators.
Pointing out that cricket is considered to be “the national sport”, he said it is an accolade that cannot be carried lightly and “therefore anything that is done administratively or on the field will be scrutinized by almost everyone in this country.”
He observed that cricket is part of the “national psyche” and has been an integral part of Guyana and the Caribbean’s history. He stated that the sport has given the “entire Caribbean a reason for their being” and he noted that people and players alike have lost the “fight, heart and spirit of the game.”
“That kind of spirit of cricket, I think, we are losing. That spirit, that fight, that sense of belonging we are slowly losing it and we, perhaps and the people, in the cricketing fraternity need to seriously examine why is it that we are losing that fight, that spirit, that heart that people had,” Anthony asserted.
He stated, however, that he will not blame players for sub-par performances since he believes that there needs to be more comprehensive programmes for cricketers. He indicated that administrators have to start revising the programmes that were previously used.
He argued that Guyanese athletes “have excelled on the world stage time and time again” and perhaps now is the time to create the right environment to start a turnaround in the game and sports in general in Guyana.
The minister also urged cricket officials to create an elite cricket programme since “we have the resources to facilitate this process.” He suggested that it is time for players to stay in Guyana and develop the game along with the youth players who are emerging.
“We have resources to put that together. Put that programme together for next year and if that can be a flagship programme for cricket in this country then Guyana’s cricket will stand out, not only in the region, but in the world. That should be our vision and aspiration.”
He continued: “I will not blame players for that type of performance. What we have to do is examine the programmes that we have in place and I strongly believe that if we set up comprehensive programmes…in terms of coaching, not just people having level ones (certificates), we must have all the levels in our midst and that is how we are going to achieve excellence.”
He concluded that if Guyana is to be successful at competing in the 21st century, then the vision and developmental programmes would require that things are done differently and “that means we have to change how we have been doing our business.”