It was supposed to be an Appreciation Dinner to reward persons and organizations that have done much to enhance the ideals of the Olympic Movement and Olympic sports.
But, Friday evening at the Georgetown Club, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr Frank Anthony and President of the Guyana Olympic Association, K. A Juman Yassin chose to use that forum to debate the issues concerning the recent battle between the government and the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB).
Minister Anthony has been to the forefront of the implementation of an Interim Management Committee even as the government investigates the GCB seeking to find evidence of financial impropriety.
Yassin, on the other hand, a practicing attorney, has been in the employ of the GCB, in its defence of what it terms government intervention into the affairs of an affiliate and shareholder of the West Indies Cricket Board.
The actual declaration of the winners of the GOA awards was lukewarm as the Minister and the GOA president took centre stage.
“There are two major concerns which I wish to bring to your attention, the National Sports Commission and the saga with the Guyana Cricket Board,” said Yassin.
“I think there is need for the appointment of a new Sports Commission,” he charged.
“The other major concern is the saga of the Guyana Cricket Board, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, the Interim Management Committee and the Attorney General.
“This saga now has more twists and turns than the Young and the Restless,” the GOA boss said pointing out that the matter stemmed from the Demerara Cricket Board and its failure to have elections.
“This matter has been allowed to get out of hand and as such, some blame must be put on the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport,” Yassin declared.
He charged that the GCB was not given the opportunity to put itself in order.
“The GCB has been existing for decades as an institution so the question we ask ourselves is which organization is next?
“Which sporting organization, NGO, Rotary Club, Lions Club will perhaps be taken over because it is not incorporated? If an inch is taken why not take a yard?”
Yassin said that the GCB was an unincorporated, voluntary organization which has been in existence for decades.
He said it was wrong for the government to put legislation for the GCB to be incorporated as if they fail to comply, they must face the consequences.
“I honestly believe that the GCB hasn’t been given time to put themselves in order,” Yassin opined.
Dr. Anthony then took the floor to make his remarks.
He stated emphatically that there was a functioning National Sports Commission before delving into the cricket debate initiated by Yassin.
He defended his ministry’s position by stating that they acted in accordance with the International Cricket Council’s mandate which stated that if the functionality of any cricket board seemed dismantled then the government has a right to take over.
He added that he believed that the unwillingness by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to recognize the IMC’s role in the matter also played a part in the present situation.
Dr. Anthony said he believes that once the players are allowed to play while the government sorts out the current “mess” “we will be able to get back on track in Guyana.”
Guyana President, His Excellency Donald Ramotar, delivered the feature address and congratulated the awardees while pointing out the strides made by the government towards the development of sport since 1992.
Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club (RHTYSC) walked away with the 2011 International Olympic Committee (IOC) trophy while Kaiteur News’ Edison Jefford won the GOA sports journalist of the Year award.
Rose Hall Town, Youth and Sports Club, received the trophy due to its various contributions to Olympic type sports in Guyana, said GOA president, Juman Yassin.
The Club’s PRO Hilbert Foster received the award from President Ramotar.
Administrative Secretary of the GOA, Shanomae Blackmore, gave a review of the GOA’s activities for last year while British High Commissioner, Andrew Ayre spoke of the expectations of the upcoming London Olympic Games.
Yassin, in congratulating the awardees, said he hoped that Guyana can grab the elusive gold medal at the London Olympics.