I was following the recent turmoil over the power struggle for the administration of cricket in Guyana and was telling myself that there is no difference between the politicians and cricket administration. The administrators campaign in the same way as the politicians do, even getting to a personal level often times. Undoubtedly some of the persons involved are genuinely in it for the love of the game and their country as their past history suggests, but others are involved just for selfish reasons, being part of a photo opportunity, a press release or even dressed up with collar and tie attending functions and feeling a sense of accomplishment when addressed by their official titles.
However, what has surprised me the most was an article in the newspapers a few days ago stating that President Bharrat Jagdeo has set up an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to replace the duly elected GCB, following a court ruling from Chief Justice Ian Chang.
Although, many persons I have spoken to indicated that some members of the government are interested in taking over the administration of cricket in Guyana, I was hesitant to believe that this was the case, since national elections are very close and the ruling party would prefer to put all their energy into getting themselves re-elected because of their unconvincing and unimpressive leadership in the past years. But I was reliably informed otherwise.
Some of my legal colleagues have explained Chief Justice Chang’s intention as meaning there was a dispute, and the government’s involvement should be limited to advisory status, not the taking over of the GCB and the implementing of an IMC without consent from the individuals involved. This imposition of an IMC is totally illegal, but who determines what is legal for politicians? Certainly an IMC led by Minister of Sport Frank Anthony, a politician, would not be perceived to be impartial and fair.
There will be severe consequences as a result of this precedent set by the President of Guyana.
If this hijack of a sporting organization goes unchallenged by the people of Guyana, this country could possibly be suspended from participating in WICB sponsored competitions and from full membership of the WICB, because of an ICC ruling on governmental involvement in cricket administration. This would result in our local boys, Shiv Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Devindra Bissoo being ineligible for selection to the West Indies team.
The stage would also be set for takeovers by the government of any other sporting organization administration in Guyana. This might not be tolerated by FIFA, therefore football organizations are not at risk, but other organizations need to take note.
I am therefore appealing to the Directors of WICB to exhaust all avenues in order to inform the Government of Guyana that their recent hijack of the local GCB is not acceptable.
The law-abiding citizens of this country should also appeal to the government to rethink their decision because its consequences would outweigh the benefits in the long term.
An appeal is also made to the opposition parties to call on the government to desist immediately from involvement in sport in this manner. Finally, I hope that good sense prevails and the game of cricket is not used as a political pawn or for anyone’s personal benefit.