The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has signaled its non-support of the Guyana Cricket Administration Bill 2012 citing several reasons, sparking a response by three major local cricketing bodies who made clear their backing of the Bill and who urged the regional body to also support it.
The Bill was slated for its second reading and debate at yesterday’s sitting of the National Assembly. It seeks to establish the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) and county boards as corporate bodies and was tabled by government in December 2012 in a bid to end the impasse over the national game here.
It provides constitutions for the GCB, the Demerara Cricket Board, the Berbice Cricket Board and the Essequibo Cricket Board. After several objections to the original draft, it was sent to a Special Select Committee and several amendments have been made to the bill including changes to provisions that the WICB had objected to.
However, the Bill has not found favour with the WICB. In a letter last month to Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Isaacs, WICB President Whycliffe Cameron referred to a December 4, 2012 letter to Sports Minister Dr. Frank Anthony in which the WICB detailed their contributions to the proposed Bill. He said that the WICB is aware that a revised draft was tabled at the last sitting of Parliament and they had obtained a copy.
Cameron reiterated the WICB’s position in relation to the dissolution of the existing GCB. “While we note that progress has been made in attempting to curtail Government’s involvement in the administration of the game, we must point out that this lingering issue is critical and dissolution of the GCB and its membership cannot be supported by the WICB,” he said.
“The WICB notes with appreciation that the drafters have refrained from classifying the matter as dissolution, but the WICB takes the view that it is tantamount to one as the new dispensation has not, to the WICB’s knowledge, been approved by the shareholders and Members of the existing GCB. This matter, coupled with the pending legal matters leave us with little option but to reserve our position specifically in respect of the shares in the WICB which were issued to the existing GCB,” Cameron wrote.
He said that the WICB also wishes to express its concerns related to the proposed Constitution. “The WICB notes that there exists an established process for the dissolution of the GCB and the constitution, and questions why the process has not been followed. We hope nonetheless that the process you envisage is not simply a means of imposing a process on the GCB without the required support of the members of the said GCB,” Cameron emphasized.
“The WICB further observes that the Bill sets the membership of the Demerara Cricket Board (DCB) without the DCB’s consent.
The WICB does not wish to mandate the constitutional requirements of its members, so will refrain from a detailed review of each clause of the document, but we note that unlike the Bill, the Constitution has been inserted with little amendment and is at variance with that already approved by the GCB membership,” he said, adding that the WICB’s contributions in the December 4 letter are repeated.
Cameron commended the detailed work done with the process and expressed hope that the parties will come to a final resolution soon.
In a response to Cameron’s letter, the Presidents of the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB), the East Coast Cricket Board (ECCB) and the Georgetown Cricket Association (GCA), Keith Foster, Bissoondyal Singh and Roger Harper respectively, expressed concern “as it is clear that there has been some amount of misinformation disseminated in relation to the participation, process and intent” of the Bill.
Describing themselves as the “Majority Constituent Members of Guyana Cricket” and pointing out that they have played a part in the Parliamentary process which took place over a three- month period and which allowed the opportunity for all cricket stakeholders throughout Guyana to make contributions, the trio said that the Bill was drafted with their full knowledge and consent and noted that the WICB also made a contribution.
The trio said that it is their contention that there does not exist a legitimate GCB as only one of the three constituent Member Boards of the GCB took part in the “purported” elections held in July 2011 and again in January 2013. The persons holding themselves as officers of the GCB have for the past three years foisted themselves on the administration of cricket in Guyana, and the WICB had been advised accordingly. Those persons do not reflect the will nor do they represent the interest of the cricket stakeholders of Guyana at any level, the letter stated.
“The apparent collusion between the WICB and the illegal GCB regime has severely undermined cricket development in Guyana to the extent that our cricket has been in chaos and confusion for over three years,” it added noting that the WICB had sent three observers to the “purported” GCB elections held on 27 January 2013 “in an apparent charade to accept the results of those elections as quid pro quo for Guyana’s support for the re-election of Dr. Julian Hunte as President of the WICB.”
Further, the letter said that at the DCB, Raj Singh, Anand Sanasie and persons unknown to the DCB constituent members have reportedly usurped the functions of a legitimate DCB Executive, and despite a letter to the WICB seeking its intervention, there was no response. The fact that the DCB is illegal and that one of the other two constituent Member Boards of the GCB, the BCB , did not take part in the purported elections of the GCB on 27 January 2013 meant that there could not possibly have been constitutional elections, the letter said.
It added that the WICB has therefore been sending monies over the past three years to an illegal GCB, and much of those remittances have been consumed in GCB legal fees. “It is apposite to note that none of the monies has gone to those constituent members that make up ninety percent (90) of the strength of Guyana Cricket. Moreover, the assets of the DCB and the assets of the GCB have been illegally transferred to private individuals without the knowledge and authorisation of the constituent members of those Boards and ipso facto are no longer the property of those constituent members,” the letter said.
“All the while, the WICB continues to recognise the GCB as the governing body for cricket in Guyana, without addressing the critical issue that the Majority Constituent Members of the GCB had on several occasions informed the WICB that the present GCB is illegal and is not a properly-constituted entity. We had many times requested the intervention of the WICB in this matter but instead the Parent Board has apparently accepted the claims of the illegal GCB. What would be the position of the WICB should we, the Majority Constituent Members of Guyana cricket, hold elections and present ourselves as the GCB? It is expected that the WICB would accept only a properly and legally-constituted Member Board, in keeping with Clauses 2 to 9(A) of the ICC Rules,” it added.
Despite meetings and promises, nothing was done to address the problems that exist in Guyana’s cricket, the trio said.
“Instead, we note with concern that some amount of criticism has been leveled in relation to the passage of the Guyana Cricket Administration Bill 2012. This Bill is noble in its intent to bring order to Guyana Cricket and has the support of the vast amount of the stakeholders of Guyana Cricket,” the trio wrote. “Also, we are aware that the very persons who illegally occupy the GCB recently embarked on a campaign to garner the support of WICB officials to discredit the Bill in an attempt to ultimately derail the Parliamentary process. It is clear that those persons are very uncomfortable with the Parliamentary process which will result in a free, democratic and fair process for the holding of elections for the GCB and its constituent Member Boards,” they added.
The letter stressed that they recognize that the Bill seeks to pave the way for the holding of fresh, free and fair elections for the constituent members of the GCB and for the GCB itself; and they are assured that, with both the Bill and the GCB constitution, there will be no involvement by Government in the administration of cricket.
It is important to note that the GCB is not a self-serving and independent entity; it is a body constituted by the three Member Boards and is answerable to those Boards, the letter said. It added that the setting up of the membership of the DCB is a constitutional matter for the constituent members of the DCB. “We also hope that the parties will come to final resolution but we are mindful that there is a very small clique that seems bent on staying in illegal control of Guyana Cricket,” the letter said.
The trio said that it is incumbent on the WICB to “rally round” any process that is noble in its intent to bring order in any area within its jurisdiction. “Towards this end, the WICB would have been better placed to make a fair and proper judgment on the Guyana Cricket problems had it consulted the bona fide stakeholders of Guyana Cricket. This was never done,” the trio charged.
“We the Majority and Major Constituent Members of Guyana Cricket have perused both the Bill and the attached schedules and wish to state categorically that we are in full support of these documents pursuant to the passage of the Cricket Administration Bill 2012. Also, we look forward to the support of the WICB in the general interest of West Indies cricket. We avail ourselves to meet with you at any time to discuss these troubling issues and we wish to assure you of our fullest cooperation towards a fair resolution,” they said while adding that they hope that this will be the final resolution to the troubles that have consumed cricket in Guyana for too long.