Former West Indies Cricket Board Director Claude Raphael said that although it appears that justice seems to be eluding the stakeholders of Guyana’s cricket, they will not be dropping the fight to ensure the return of democratic elections to Guyana.
“We the stakeholders will not give up. We shall seek justice for all times. We are interested in justice, transparency and accountability. “Unless we reach the stage where all parties are invited to and participate in a fair and legal process of elections then we will not rest until that justice is forthcoming.”
Raphael made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Stabroek Sport, following the visit of new WICB president Dave Cameron to Guyana.
According to Raphael, the stakeholder group comprises representatives from the Berbice Cricket Board, the Demerara Cricket Board and individuals who have the interest of cricket at heart.
“We know that the GCB is the body but it must be elected through a fair process then we will accept it. We don’t mind who wins, whoever is selected to be the executive of the Guyana Cricket Board must be done so by a process that is fair, and that involves all persons who are eligible to participate, that is our position.”
Comment on Cameron’s visit to Guyana, Raphael said it was a disappointment but he remains hopeful that things will change.
“I am kind of disappointed that Mr. Cameron just came in, met with the cricket board officials, held his press conference, probably met with the government and did not seek to meet with all the stakeholders in Guyana to find out what the problems are. You can only solve a problem if you know exactly what the problem is, and to know what the problem is, you have to hear all sides. You can’t hear one side or two sides and tell yourself that you can solve the problem with that.”
The former executive member of the GCB is of the opinion that Cameron was carried away with the euphoria of his role, which saw him jumping into the situation with both feet before making any attempts at finding out what the problem is.
Raphael also said that he was disappointed that Cameron made the trip to Guyana himself instead of with a delegation given the serious issues affecting Guyana’s and West Indies cricket.
“I thought that he should have come with more people. He should have met with all the Stakeholders, Berbice Board, Essequibo Board, the factions in Demerara and all the stakeholders in cricket so that he could get first-hand information on what is taking place. They have been relying all the time on what the directors of the so-called Guyana Cricket Board have been telling them and it’s time to hear the whole story. So to come and regurgitate what Mr. Hunte has been saying all along about recognizing the GCB is old news.
“We understand that recognising the GCB means that it is the only entity that the West Indies Cricket Board could recognize, but our problem is how do you get to GCB? How is the GCB comprised? And how are the members elected? We are concerned about the legality and transparency of that process and that is the process that has been compromised. So Mr. Cameron in his enthusiasm probably missed the bus in that regard.”
Raphael also said, that the newly elected WICB president contradicted himself when he said he respected the laws of Guyana, but then in the same breath said he recognized the group that has been violating those same laws.
“And to date, the West Indies Board nor anybody has not been able to identify publicly who are the members of the Demerara Board that is running cricket and how the GCB has become legal if the Demerara Cricket Board is not legal.
“No one has been able to explain that process but there seems to be a general acceptance of the illegality. So we are still very much in the dark in that regard, and I am very concerned that unless Mr. Cameron gets out of the slip stream of Mr. Hunte, and picks his own pathway towards progress, nothing will change.
“As a young man whom I have the highest regard for, as an intelligent young man that I feel could very well do the job, I would like to advise him to unshackle himself from the irresponsible behavior of the past regime that he was a part of and to show that the young people could make the way and we can have proper administration in West Indies Cricket for the benefit of all.
“It is not a good thing for Cameron to travel the same road as former WICB President, Julian Hunte as Hunte’s regime was a failure,” Raphael said.
“He has failed at all levels and departments of West Indies Cricket and unless Mr. Cameron picks himself up and dusts himself off, he will do the same.”
Asked whether the cricket stakeholders group will now write Cameron directly on the matter now that he has made a pronouncement, Raphael said.
“Well I guess that would be an option or consideration that we will have to look at. As I said before he came in and did not meet with all of us officially and he left, he did have some unofficial chats. But basically the West indies Cricket Board must and I think the responsibility is Mr. Cameron’s to come in and sit with all the parties to help move this process towards reconciliation for the benefit of our cricket and ultimately West Indies Cricket.”