Chief Justice Ian Chang yesterday struck out an action brought by Angela Haniff in her capacity as secretary of the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) which sought to restrain the Ramsey Ali-led Guyana Cricket Board executives from functioning.
Ali was elected president of the GCB at the Annual General Meeting of the body on July 10 following which Haniff sought and was granted an order restraining the new executives from functioning.
Yesterday, however, Chang ruled that as “all the parties to this action are no more than representatives of unincorporated umbrella associations which (along with their membership) lack legal personality, this action was misconceived and must be struck out and dismissed.”
Lawyer for the defendants, Roysdale Forde, told Stabroek Sport last night that the ruling meant that Ali and his executives were now the lawful representatives of the GCB and duly recognized by the West Indies Cricket Board.
Forde said the substance of the case was that the plaintiffs had to establish to the Court that the organization which they represented could file an action.
Chang yesterday stated that all the parties before the Court were legal non entities adding that the Court was not the proper forum for any relief or redress involving the GCB or any of its members, the BCB, the DCB or the ECB.
“Since the Court can give no recognition to the GCB as a legal body, it cannot recognize the election of office bearers within that association,” Chang stated.
Chang also called on the legislature to intervene noting that the administrative control and development of cricket was a matter of national and general public interest.
He also called on the Ministry responsible for sports to intervene since he claimed that the state has assumed responsibility for the welfare, promotion and proper administration of sports in Guyana.
“It is a matter of common knowledge (a fact of notoriety) that there exists a Ministry responsible for sports in general. This indicates that the State has assumed executive responsible for the welfare, promotion and proper administration of sports in Guyana – and the premier sport in Guyana is that of cricket.
“The laissez – faire system in sports must therefore not be allowed to operate unchecked and unsupervised and the executive government has the responsibility of ensuring that the operation of such a system does not threaten the public welfare in the area of a national sport.
“It does appear that the operation of the laissez – faire system in the area of the sport of cricket has reached the stage where the bitter rivalry between or among private unincorporated umbrella bodies now threatens the welfare of cricket as a national sport – exposing an obvious disadvantage of the laissez – faire system. Since the judiciary as an arm of the State is powerless to provide remedial action, the remedy must, of course, lie either in the exercise of the power of the legislature and/or the executive.”
Chang’s decision yesterday was reached after a series of adjournments since the matter was brought two weeks after the Ramsey Ali administration was installed at the July 10 GCB Annual General Meeting at the Georgetown Cricket Club main pavilion.
Chang also suggested the possible intervention of the minister responsible for sport.
“In the present state of affairs, while a legislative structure for the administration of cricket is desirable, there may be the immediate need for the Minister responsible for sports to impose his executive will in the national interest until such time as Parliament can provide a more permanent welfare structure.
“The Minister can take immediate interim remedial action while the legislature seeks to provide a more permanent solution. Of course, it is not the function of the court to make decisions of policy. However, the court is not powerless to state in the exercise of such power,” he stated.
The Sport Ministry is expected to hold a press briefing today to give a clearer understanding of the way forward.
Meanwhile, former Chairman of Selectors in the GCB Claude Raphael said yesterday that he was pleased with the ruling of the court while attempts to meet other executives of the board were futile.