WICB seeking legal advice on demand for GCB shares

The West Indies Cricket Board is seeking legal advice on a letter from counsel for Guyana’s Attorney General, Anil Nandlall instructing that the shares of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) be transferred to the Government of Guyana.

This was disclosed in the report by WICB President Julian Hunte to the Annual General Meeting of the board at the Coco Palm Hotel on March 24, 2012 in St Lucia.

The letter on behalf of Nandlall is the latest twist in the manoeuvres by the Guyana Government to wrest control of local cricket from the GCB. The WICB  continues to recognise the GCB in a row that has seen the regional board withdrawing cricket matches from Guyana.

The Guyana Government is also in the midst of measures to recover GCB property which had been diverted. The measures by the government have led to resignations of the directors from the board.

The following is Hunte’s report to the board on the Guyana situation:

“Since I last reported, an unfortunate situation has developed with one of our territorial boards – Guyana Cricket Board. In August 2011, Guyana‟s Chief Justice, Honourable Ian Chang dismissed the case on the basis that the parties before him were legal non-entities. The Honourable Chief Justice Ian Chang‟s comments attached to his ruling reads: “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… structure.”Following on the Chief Justices‟s Ruling, the President of Guyana summoned a meeting with officials of the GCB to inform them of the proposed action of the Government of Guyana to establish an Interim Management Committee (IMC). On August 30, 2011, a WICB delegation comprising the WICB President and Director Clive Lloyd met with the GoG to discuss the situation in Guyana. The following was agreed upon:

i. That the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) would remain in place as currently constituted but with eight (8) new persons added on to the Board

ii. The IMC or Interim Management Committee preferably “INTERIM ADVISORY COMMITTEE” is set up which will include the persons mentioned previously and Mr. Clive Lloyd.

iii. These discussions by the IMG (IAC) should also include the drafting of a new constitution for the GCB which process should be completed within the next three to four months to be followed immediately by election of officers to the GCB.

“On 23 December 2011, the Minister of Sport the Honourable Dr. Frank Anthony informed the WICB of the formation of the IMC with former West Indies Captain Clive Lloyd appointed Chairman of the IMC. On 30 December, the WICB informed the Minister of the official position of the WICB that it cannot recognize the IMC and it is opposed to any attempt to dissolve the GCB which is the legitimate cricketing authority in the country. The WICB‟s position is premised on a simple principled position – ensuring the independence of cricket administration and avoiding interference in the management of cricketing bodies. This principle flows from the intent and spirit of a position adopted by the ICC. It is consistent with the position adopted by the IOC and FIFA and increasingly by other international sporting bodies. The WICB position does not seek to prevent Governments from providing oversight of national sporting bodies. The WICB President stated, “…for the sake of clarity, the WICB is not opposed to any Government investigating the affairs of a Member Board in order to ascertain whether any criminal offense has been committed, including fraud, dereliction of directors‟ duties (including fiduciary duties) or contravention of any relevant legislation.” On 5 January 2012, the WICB reiterated its position in a letter from the WICB President to the Honourable Minister of Sport of Guyana Dr. Frank Anthony.

The President explained, “you may recall that in our discussions in Guyana and my previous letter, WICB has stated that it has no difficulty with a Government investigating a cricket board or for that matter engaging a cricket board to undertake necessary reform. We further suggested that the body proposed by Government act as an advisory body to achieve those ends. We have been informed that Guyana Cricket Board agreed to work with the proposed advisory body to achieve those ends. WICB cannot accept a Government dissolving a cricket board and installing its own entity.”

The President and CEO participated in negotiations with the GoG mediated by the Secretary General of CARICOM. An Understanding was agreed upon subject to the Government of Guyana seeking advice on one paragraph. WICB and CARICOM have had further exchanges clarifying concerns of the Government of Guyana. To date, we have not had a final response from the Government of Guyana. Meanwhile, the Government has brought the full force of the state to bear on the officials of the Guyana Cricket Board including searches of their homes and places of work. Government has also sought and obtained an order of the Court preventing any official of the GCB from acting as an agent of the GCB. Consequently, all officials of the GCB have resigned to avoid any contempt of Court proceedings. A few days ago, I received a letter from Counsel claiming to act on behalf of the Attorney General instructing that the shares of the Guyana Cricket Board be transferred to the Government of Guyana failing which action will be pursued. The Board is seeking legal advice on this matter. We are committed to observing our principled position on this matter.”

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