Interim Committee to run Guyana Cricket Board

An Interim Management Committee (IMC) will be formed to govern the affairs of the embattled Guyana Cricket Board (GCB).
The decision came after a stakeholders meeting with President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday at State House, Main Street.

According to sources at the meeting this decision was made after Jagdeo saw Chief Justice Ian Chang’s ruling on Monday that the GCB, which was formed in 1943, was not a legally constituted body.

Sources stated that the president noted that the IMC is a short-term plan and two persons from each of the county boards will be on the committee.
The sources also stated that it is not the Government of Guyana’s wish to take over the running of cricket but rather to bring an end to the constant barrage of accusations of lawlessness and financial impropriety in the affairs of the board.

With yesterday’s recommendation by Jagdeo it means that the recently-elected Ramsey Ali administration will not be able to carry out its mandate, especially under the circumstances that he and his executives’ election to office was rife with controversy.

It is not yet known who will head the IMC but word coming from the meeting stated that  Sport Minister Dr. Frank Anthony will head the body or he may make an appointment.

When Anthony was contacted he said that his ministry will be issuing a statement tomorrow on what will be the next step.
All the sources noted that the IMC will be formed very shortly and it will be in effect for about three months. The rationale behind this, according to the sources, is for the problems to be solved as quickly as possible.

They said that Jagdeo wants the ongoing imbroglio to be swiftly ended. The IMC will also examine and investigate  all the accusations of financial impropriety and misuse of power.

From all indications, one source said,  the government seems reluctant to take over but from what was gathered the president wants the requisite legislative framework set up that will enable the proper constitution of the GCB. Further, the IMC will also focus on getting the Demerara, Berbice and Essequibo Cricket Boards properly constituted.

The chief justice had also ruled that these entities were not legally constituted. The DCB had found itself in legal limbo after two factions had laid claim to being the legitimate administration to run the board which resulted in the court granting an order preventing both parties acting on behalf of the DCB.

According to the source, the IMC will also facilitate a process that can see fresh elections being held both at the GCB and DCB. This will ensure that, according to what Jagdeo stated, the governance and administration of the game is transparent.

The members on the IMC will be tasked with pinpointing what caused some of the problems of the GCB and the DCB.
On the other hand, officials expressed mixed emotions at the end of yesterday’s meeting. One official, who asked for anonymity, said that the meeting was a political move especially with elections slated before yearend.

It was the official’s belief that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) could very well pull the plug on the Regional 50-over tournament slated for October. This can also potentially put the West Indies game against Pakistan next month in jeopardy.

Another official believes that since political involvement has now entered the equation it can spell further doom for the development of the game.
Meanwhile, one official said that he is satisfied with the outcome of the meeting while also stating that some officials appeared jaded by Jagdeo’s decision. According to this official the meeting was a cordial one and he is optimistic that the IMC might be the solution to the problems plaguing the GCB.

Justice Chang struck out an action brought by Angela Haniff in her capacity as secretary of the BCB which sought to restrain the Ramsey Ali-led Guyana Cricket Board executives from functioning. Ali was elected president of the GCB on July 10 following which Haniff sought and was granted an order restraining the new executives from functioning.

Justice Chang had 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.”

Chang had 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 had also called on the ministry responsible for sports to intervene since he said 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 responsibility 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 was reached after a series of adjournments since the matter was brought two weeks after the Ali administration was installed 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 had stated.

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