The Georgetown Cricket Club is considering a proposal by a major corporate entity in Guyana to invest in the GCC Ground but a decision will not be taken until all of the club members are consulted and notified, says President Lionel Jaikaran.
Speaking with Stabroek Sport last night, Jaikaran said, “We received a proposal from a corporate entity but we cannot disclose. Our members have to know of it then it would go public.”
He said that the club is owned by all of its members and as such major decisions cannot be taken without their say so. “It is not for sale period…the final position can’t be made by the Committee but by the members,” he said. Another member of the club clarified that it was a letter of intent by the corporate entity that was being considered by the club.
Jaikaran said that it was an investment into the facility and not a sale that is being considered. He said that even without the proposed investment, the GCC was making efforts – however modest – to improve the facilities of the historic Bourda sward and make additions such as tennis courts and areas for other sporting disciplines. He said that the GCC remains active in hosting events and maintaining its membership base from which income is generated. He said that the club was not about to “roll over and die.”
While Stabroek News has learnt that the corporate entity that made the proposal is the Queens Atlantic Investments Inc. (QAII) Group, calls to its CEO Dr. Ranjisinghi Ramroop went unanswered.
This newspaper understands that it is the intention of Ramroop to merge the GCC and the adjoining Georgetown Football Club (GFC) and to enhance the facilities. The GFC is also said to be considering the proposal in a similar fashion as the GCC.
Jaikaran said that the GCC will have its annual general meeting on Monday and while this matter is not listed on the agenda, it is sure to come up under the agenda heading ‘any other business’.
A merger of the two adjoining grounds was one of the options being considered for the hosting of Cricket World Cup 2007 when Guyana needed a facility in
conformity with international standards for hosting matches for the tournament. This option was however not considered as Government decided that the better option was that of a new stadium built from the ground up and which would conform to all of the requirements.
A more recent proposal for a merger of the grounds had been floated by the government in 2010 at a June meeting at the Office of the President. One of the negotiators acting on behalf of the government was Presidential Advisor Odinga Lumumba.
The Bourda ground has a capacity of around 22,000 and was opened in 1884. The venue hosted its first Test match in February 1930 between West Indies and England. The proposal in 2010 to merge the two grounds was vehemently objected to by some cricket aficionados.
Former West Indies and Guyana batsman Basil Butcher had said in July 2010 that should the merger between the two grounds materialise, it would “be a sinful act against cricket”.
Butcher had told Stabroek Sport that anyone who would harbour a thought to destroy the historic Bourda ground did not know the true significance of the venue to Guyana and cricket around the world.
The Port Mourant-born cricket icon had said that he believes in the development of sport but not at the expense of destroying history. “I am sure there are other sites for such a facility to be constructed. That ground (Bourda) holds immense value and cricket can do so much for young people especially when they can say that they played at Bourda, which is renowned around world,” Butcher emphasised.
Butcher also noted that Bourda should have been properly taken care of in the past by the relevant authorities. If this was done, he believes, there would not have been talks to now merge the two facilities and more so cricket would not have been out of the equation.
The government had promised to submit a comprehensive proposal outlining its vision for the possible merger of the GCC and the GFC to create a sports facility but it is unclear if that was ever done. According to reports at that time, if the GCC accepted the proposal, which Sport Minister Dr Frank Anthony had described as exploratory, a synthetic track for athletics and a football field would have been built in the centre.