Ramsey Ali new head of Guyana Cricket Board

…controversy continues unabated

-delegates who snubbed election deemed to have abstained

Ramsey Ali became the new president of the Guyana Cricket Board yesterday at the GCC pavilion amidst controversy and an unprecedented media shutout.

The media has in the past been able to cover the meetings but were told they would not be allowed in.

Ramsey Ali

Ten delegates voted – nine from Essequibo and one from Berbice. The delegate from Berbice will now face disciplinary action for going against the mandate of the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB). As a result of the way the elections were conducted many officials labelled it as unconstitutional and illegal especially since only one county board voted fully. David Black was the lone delegate from Berbice who broke away from the decision taken by the BCB to not participate in the GCB elections.

Fourteen members constitute a quorum and no less than two county boards must contest GCB elections according to its Constitution but Ali and other members, including former president Chetram Singh, said that 12 delegates formed a quorum. And since the other delegates left they viewed it as “abstaining from voting”.

Berbice officials, who are on the GCB executive and were present yesterday, said that they felt betrayed that Black would take part in an election that “was filled with controversy and unconstitutional”. President of the BCB Keith Foster said that an Ordinary General Meeting will be called to discuss Black’s future on the board but he was certain yesterday that some form of disciplinary action would be instituted.

Demerara Cricket Board (DCB) officials, belonging to the Bissoondial Singh faction and who attended the executive meeting, also questioned the legality of the elections especially in light of that board not being able to vote because of a court order that prevents the two rival factions from performing duties on its behalf.

Additionally, those officials said that they do not wish to be a part of the shenanigans, predicting an even bleaker future for cricket in Guyana. One ventured to say that it was clear that yesterday’s development was a clear indication that cricket was not the focus but rather “an issue of self” and with that they vacated the premises.

But Ali contended that the election was properly held and that the delegates who left after the meeting had in effect “abstained from voting as far as I am concerned”.

It is unclear at this time whether the elections will be challenged but Ali said that he will be meeting his executives today to outline plans for the development of the sport that has been mired in the doldrums and controversy for the past two years. The former marketing manager of the GCB also acknowledged that the past 18 months have been tumultuous for the board but said his executive will commence the rebuilding process.

Brewing

Chetram Singh

However, there might be another controversy brewing since one of the executives who was elected, Anil Beharry, BCB’s current Treasurer, said that he will not be accepting the Assistant Treasurer position in the new GCB. Ali highlighted at the post-election press conference that he had received a written document from Beharry stating that he will serve in the position.

However, when Stabroek Sport spoke with Beharry, via telephone yesterday, he said that he had spoken with Ali and had indeed told him that he would serve cricket but on the condition that all the boards are involved in the election process. Further, Beharry noted that he was not prepared to go against the June decision of the BCB executive body to not participate in the GCB elections. Beharry said that he loved serving cricket but reiterated that everyone must be involved.

On the other hand, Ali, who took over from Chetram Singh who served as head of the board since August 1991, expressed his gratitude to the delegates who voted him into office and assured that all issues affecting cricket will be addressed, starting with the clearing up of the perception of “financial impropriety”.

He said that the executives intend to meet with the auditors and ascertain what the problems were and these findings, if any, will be made public. The Barcellos and Narine accounting firm did a five percent audit of the board’s finances and this many other executives felt did not reflect the true picture of the mismanagement.

Another hot button topic that the new executive will be discussing will be whether the board should re-register with the Friendly Societies.

When asked whether he will be reaching out to the other boards Ali said that cricket development will not be as sound without the input of these boards.

However, he said that if they refuse to cooperate “cricket will not suffer since there will be systems in place to ensure this doesn’t happen”. He pointed out that he has put together a slate of executives that will exemplify “the true meaning of putting cricket first”.

Further, Ali revealed that a new constitution will be drafted and in it provisions will be made for presidents to have term limits. Three two-year term limits will be the maximum. Ali indicated that he is “not there to serve as president forever”.

Lastly in keeping with his development plans Ali said that he will be handing over to the DCB the Allen Stanford training facility in the compound of the Guyana National Industrial Corporation (GNIC) compound, Woolford Avenue, the moment the board is functional again. That facility, which was built way back in 2006, was never fully completed and now it is overrun by weeds and wasps.

The president of the DCB at that time was Claude Raphael and after he lost power to Bissoondial Singh he had said that he would not be accepting the facility until it was fully operational and supplied with electricity and running water. On the other hand, Ali said that the Essequibo hostel, which is also in a deplorable state, will be on the radar for repair along with other facilities in the expansive Cinderella County.

The new executive body comprises: Ramsey Ali- President, Faizul Bacchus and Alfred Mentore- First and Second Vice Presidents, Anand Sanasie- Secretary, Dru Bahadur- Assistant Secretary, Anad Kaladeen- Treasurer, Anil Beharry- Assistant Treasurer, Terry Holder- Public Relations Officer, Troy Mendonca- Marketing Manager and Colin Europe- Competition Committee Chairman.

Unholy Alliances

Meanwhile when outgoing president Chetram Singh spoke he said that he felt relieved to be going especially after what transpired in the last two years. He said that he hopes that the new executive brings new thoughts to bear and that the focus is on cricket.

On the other hand, when he was asked by this publication whether the decline of the board started with the courting of some unholy alliances he said that that may not be right term but explained it was a case where “some of the persons promised me their votes and in return I did something for them”.

“It was a fair exchange and I couldn’t accept their vote and not offer something in return but that did not work out as planned. When I got sick one group even thought that I wouldn’t survive and the fighting started”, explained Singh.

According to Singh, on his return he could not have “stamped his authority and rein in what was going on”. Singh indicated that many times he dreaded going to meetings because of the tense atmosphere among  some of the members and this aspect of his 20-year tenure he “would love to forget”.

On the other hand, though he said that he loved the contribution he made to cricket after joining the GCB in 1983. Now, he said that he will have more time for family and have the opportunity to have long walks in the park.

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