Labour Minister: GCB “should have had its house in order”

— says Singh can resign

Labour Minister Manzoor Nadir yesterday responded to comments made by president of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Chetram Singh over the weekend stating that if the body had wanted to hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in a timely manner it “should have had its house in order.”

Singh, who has headed the GCB since 1991, was quoted as saying that he was frustrated with the slow pace of the Friendly Societies release of the audit of the divided and scandal plagued GCB.

The long-standing president, who will not be seeking re-election, had said that he wants the process to be done with so that he can move on.

Manzoor Nadir

This prompted Nadir, who claimed that he has been friends with Singh for over four decades, to say…. “if he is frustrated then he should tender his resignation,” citing that he does not have to wait on the Friendly Societies. He issued this same message to other executives that may share the same sentiments as Singh.

Nadir also reminded at the press conference that the delay in the holding of the GCB’s AGM and elections lies squarely at the door of that institution and said elections will not go ahead until he has sat with the GCB executives. The elections were scheduled to be held on January 31 but allegations of financial impropriety and executive lawlessness surfaced and a forensic audit of the board’s operations was ordered by the Friendly Societies. Nadir also pointed out that there were “some issues” arising out of Rupert Foster’s enquiry into the operations of the GCB last February. However, these issues cannot be disclosed until officials meet with the GCB executives.

The minister posited that the GCB was not a bottom house operation and therefore it is the responsibility of the ministry to ensure societies like the GCB have good governance and are run properly.

“The reason for the Guyana Cricket Board not being able to hold elections has nothing to do with the Ministry of Labour and everything to do with the Guyana Cricket Board,” Nadir noted.

Chetram Singh

He also indicated that a letter was sent out by the Registrar of Friendly Societies Kareem Abdul-Jabar on December 1, 2010, informing the GCB that it “was in breach of Regulation 26 (a) v and vi of the Friendly Societies Act, Chapter 36:04 of the Laws of Guyana, which requires all Societies registered under this Act to submit by 1st May of each year the Annual Returns for the previous calendar year ending 31st December, to the Registrar of the Friendly Societies.

“Further, you are advised that only after an audit of report authorised and released by the Registrar of Friendly Societies, in accordance with Section 27 of the Act that your Society would be able to hold an annual General Meeting.”

Nadir believes that if the GCB, which has been registered with the Friendly Societies since June 25, 2008, had followed the regulations then it would not have been in the quandary it finds itself in. He also revealed that prior to 2008 the GCB was not “a legally constituted body.”
On the other hand, Nadir, who said that he only received a draft copy of the report recently, said that the final draft will be issued to the GCB but “that does not mean that they (GCB) can go ahead and hold their elections because I want them to meet with us.”

Nadir added, “I want to make this absolutely clear, the Registrar of the Friendly Societies and I as minister with responsibility to oversee, to ensure that we have now the auditor’s statement that is now ready, we still have some issues with the enquirer’s report. Until those two are absolutely ready it is not going to be released to the cricket board.

“I am saying this publicly so everyone at the cricket board will know that unless everything is in order the Registrar of the Friendly Societies will be advised that there will be no release of these reports until everything is in order. The last step of the process is the ministry sitting down with officials of the cricket board to look at the enquirer’s report.”

According to Nadir, it is in the interest of the GCB executives, if they can provide valid reasons, for some of the “contentious issues” then the enquirer can duly make changes.

He added also that the issues that are affecting the GCB is symptomatic with what is wrong with cricket in general, while also reiterating that the board has to “get it right.”

Commenting on what will be a worse case scenario, Jabar said that an Interim Management Committee (IMC) can be appointed until the  issues are cleared up.

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