Minister of State, Joseph Harmon on Saturday called on cricket stakeholders to work together to resolve existing differences so that young cricketers are not hampered in their development.
Harmon was at the time addressing awardees and special invitees at the Demerara Cricket Club’s (DCC) Annual Awards Ceremony for 2015-2016, at which he was also made the Club’s new Patron. A Ministry of the Presidency release on Monday said that Harmon used the occasion to press for a resolution of disputes affecting cricket management in Guyana.
The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) has been enmeshed in various long-running court battles following disputes over the outcomes of its elections and other matters.
The previous PPP/C government had installed an Interim Management Committee to run the affairs of cricket in a bid to get past the GCB but this ended in failure when the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) emphasised that only the GCB would be recognised. As a result, international cricket matches were withheld from Guyana for several years.
The PPP/C government also crafted a Cricket Administration Act to lay the groundwork for new elections for the GCB but this has also been held up as a result of the disputes.
Since it entered office in May, 2015, the APNU+AFC government has done nothing to activate the Act even though its members, particularly, the current Minister of Education Dr Rupert Roopnaraine had been involved in the crafting of its provisions.
Several of the members of the GCB are said to have close ties to senior members of the present government.
Harmon in his address on Saturday, according to the Ministry of the Presidency, said that cricket has been a unifying force in the Caribbean and this legacy must be carried forward. Speaking to the local challenges and citing issues with regard to the WICB, he noted that it is vital that solutions be found to these problems, since division and segregation are affecting the potential of the young, upcoming, talented cricketers and their chance at glory.
“Cricket brings people together. Irrespective of your race, class, colour, creed, religion or wealth, cricket brings you together. We need to unify the cricket administration in Guyana. We need to find some common ground that will make the cricket movement much more solid than it is right now.
For too long, we have had too much pulling and tugging and as a result we are not getting our best talent from this country and we need to bring an end to that. If there is anything at all I can contribute to this club, I would lend my skill and expertise to making sure that we try to help these sides so that cricket can benefit in Guyana,” Harmon said. He contended that these issues must be addressed frontally and in an efficient manner so that every stakeholder can benefit for the good of the game and the country.
“We are too small of a country to [to be fighting]. Our pool of skills and players are too limited. Let us work in cricket, on the things that unite us and let us put aside the things that divide us. I promise to do my best to ensure that DCC rises and soars,” he noted.
Minister within the Ministry of Education, Nicolette Henry, who has responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, pledged her commitment to the sport, noting too that investment and attention on the young people, will only result in positive developments in the country.