Governments should stay out of cricket affairs

Dear Editor,

I have not been paying keen attention to this cricket mess unfolding in Guyana. However, that changed today when a friend who happens to be a strong cricket fanatic engaged me in a discussion on the matter. He was in pain and anguish over what has transpired to date. I decided to research this matter. Bitter and puerile squabbling for power within the GCB and an arrogant perspective of power by the PPP/C government and GCB forces led to this disaster. Autocracy, illegality and constitutional and fiduciary wrongdoing have led us here.

The government, which is just as dictatorial and arrogant as the fighting GCB forces, imposed an Interim Management Committee (IMC) on Guyana’s cricket. The interests of cricket cannot be served with irresponsible and despotic conduct being replaced by irresponsible and despotic conduct. Absolutism replacing absolutism cannot render democracy. It will only continue to hold cricket hostage.

While government has an inherent capacity to intervene in matters of national interest, the manner of intervention is what matters. No government in a functioning democracy should suspend a body for its tainted conduct, illegality and authoritarianism to replace it with another body with the same attributes. How does one justify annexing a body that is accused of lacking democratic validity and foisting upon it an unelected appointed body. The mere presence of power or the exercise of it does not grant legitimacy. This is the moral and legal dilemma of the Guyana government and the IMC. The murky meddling with the IMC encumbrance has further muddied the already muddy waters of Guyana. The ICC and its regional proxy (WICB) have rejected the IMC. It is a position of sanity and correctness although the latter body is another example of arrogance and power gone terribly wrong. Governments should stay out of cricket affairs. Executive appointed cricket dictatorships vanquishing people-appointed and created dictatorships are dangerous not only for cricket but for any other sport, friendly association and any aspect of society where citizens are entitled to freely associate and form associations for legitimate and proper purposes. There is inherent mistrust in the executive exercising absolute power over sports, and rightly so.

Clearly, there were more democratic avenues available to the Guyana government than typical Burnhamite behaviour now being practised by Burnham’s biggest detractors. The courts, which have been sympathetic to the cries for resolution, should have been the first avenue to bring closure to this shame. This is how governments should intervene in cricket. Sue or take legal action. The Minister of Sport could have applied early in the frame for orders demanding new audited and independently monitored and executed GCB elections and all records. The rule of law would have ended this quagmire without the need for an IMC. Instead, the levying of the IMC upon the nation by the government has caused Guyana to lose valuable cricket matches and the revenues they generate. This fiasco was really about the breakdown of law and order, the demise of dignity, the arraignment of integrity, the orientation to dictatorship and the collapse of the rule of law. This is more than cricket. It is about a sickness and shame that has locked this country in a death grip for a long time now.

Yours faithfully,
M Maxwell

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