Essequibo should retain its current voting rights on the GCB

Dear Editor,

The tabling of a new constitution for the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) through Parliament will become a reality via the government-initiated, Clive Lloyd-led Interim Management Committee (IMC). While I support same for the benefit of legalizing the parent body, it would be demoralising should the Essequibo Cricket Board’s voting rights be limited in contrast to the other two counties.

Reference is made to the Stabroek News article, ‘IMC concludes public seminars,’ dated  Feb 21 that refers to Essequibo’s lacklustre performances on the field as a basis for a review of its equal constitutional rights on the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB). Is such an idea not similar to reviewing the West Indies Cricket Board’s rights on the International Cricket Council (ICC) due to the team’s dismal and sporadic performances and their current ranking? It is inconceivable that such a thought would be elevated beyond the level of a comment which was made during the IMC’s consultative process in Berbice.

I join with Mr Clive Lloyd, however, in recognizing the impressive efforts of the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) in managing the affairs of cricket in the ancient county. The Essequibo Cricket Board though, must remain as a vital pillar of the Guyana Cricket Board not only on the field but off it as well. Many Essequibians have served with distinction on the executive arm of the GCB, and this includes Mr Beni Sankar who for years was financially generous to the game and the Board. He also served as a former Vice President of the body and a WICB director, positions to which he dedicated his energies and wisdom.

Others of notable repute include Alvin Johnson, Fizul Bacchus, Asif Ahmad and Hakim Khan, all of whom portrayed professionalism in executing their voluntary duties. Yet the ECB it seems remains unrecognized for its contribution.

I hope that the new constitution will provide for the ECB to have selectors on both the junior and senior panels of the GCB which will at least minimize the fears that the Essequibian players continue to harbour.

To illustrate my point, there is the total disrespect shown for arguably one of Guyana’s finest batting talents in the form of Dinesh Joseph, who did not wear national colours although he crafted a masterful century against Reon King and Colin Stuart in a senior inter-county match in 2008.

Any Essequibo cricketer who excelled against Berbice and Demerara must be considered in a league above his counterparts. Dinesh Joseph remains a tragic loss to Guyana’s cricket (what about the failures of our current national opening batsmen?).  Instead, a century against Essequibo revives the careers of recycled players from the other counties. There are other cases of bizarre irrationality like that of Trevor Benn, who was dropped from the national squad without playing a match; similar treatment was also meted out to Jaimini Singh a few years ago. The fate of players has been different at the junior level which indicates that the talent is evident. In fact this has always been the case until Essequibo was mysteriously seen as a controversial territory which will need an international tribunal to resolve its apparent cricketing complexities.

I therefore implore the IMC to be rational and considerate in dealing with the affairs of the county of Essequibo, so that instead of constitutional reforms, there can be a level playing field for the players that will include moral, financial and technical support. I was involved in a cricket development meeting with Mr Roger Harper, who had volunteered his expertise to conduct coaching sessions in Essequibo, and I hope it is still his desire to do so. Essequibians are proud of their product and the passion for the game remains strong, even in the remote areas, including the Pomeroon. Any attempt to minimize Essequibo’s contribution nationally by virtue of constitutional changes with regard to its voting rights, will be  detrimental psychologically to the players and administrators of Essequibo, and by extension the Guyana Cricket Board.

Yours faithfully,
Elroy Stephney

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