I note with great interest the big media frenzy and hype that accompanied the discharge of the injunction that prevented elections for the Guyana Cricket Board in the past few years after the Cricket Administration Act was enacted in May 2014. It should be noted that this Act was challenged by the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) since it was found to be deeply flawed and contradictory. The GCB, in its submissions to the Court, had never requested that elections be stopped for any Board, but the Chief Justice made the interim decision to issue such an Order. I am penning this letter just to refresh the memory of everyone on the issues and facts surrounding this very controversial Cricket Act.
In the lead up to the passing of this Act, there was a special Select Committee of Parliament that met over 20 times with all the valid stakeholders in the administration of cricket which included the GCB, the Demerara Cricket Board (DCB) and other cricket-related individuals. The GCB and the DCB made written and oral submissions to this Select Committee but not a single item of its submissions were taken on board by the Committee in the drafting of this Act, hence, its lopsidedness when eventually enacted. In fact, several of the said Select Committee Members never even took the time to read the said Bill that was being debated and voted. It seems that voting was mainly on political grounds. The Select Committee recommended to Parliament that the constitutions of the Guyana Cricket Board and the Demerara Cricket Board be rewritten without any contribution from the membership of these two Boards. This act in itself is enough to render this Cricket Act unconstitutional.
In late June 2014, after a heavy outpouring of protests from the GCB and the West Indies Cricket Board about the content of this Act and the manner in which it was introduced, there was a special meeting arranged between the Government of Guyana, represented therein by Ministers Nandlall and Anthony, the WICB, the Guyana Cricket Board and some representatives of the disgruntled group now calling themselves ‘stakeholders‘. Attorneys for all parties were also present with the GOG attorneys also seemingly representing the ‘stakeholders’. It was unanimously agreed that the Cricket Act was indeed deeply flawed and needed amendments. All of the amendments were discussed and agreed upon by everyone present at the forum. It was further agreed that since the Act was not yet assented to, that the agreed amendments to the Act would have been tabled in Parliament in mid July 2014. A draft amendment to the Act was completed and circulated to all the parties. The team from the Cricket Boards and their attorneys met with the other parliamentary parties, APNU and AFC, and sought to obtain their agreement on the draft amendments to the Cricket Administration Act. The other parties agreed to the amendments that were proposed and were willing to append their signatures to the agreed upon document. The GOG became very incensed with the intervention of the other Parliamentary parties and refused to sign off on the agreed upon document with the other Parliamentary parties included therein. It was then agreed to exclude the other Parliamentary parties from the document. The GOG never signed that document and has allowed this confusion to continue unhindered. The Honourable Ministers that attended this meeting never took any further step to have this lopsided Act corrected and it is incumbent on the present administration to investigate this matter and have it corrected or await the verdict of the Court in the legal challenge by the GCB. Actually, this was the second time that the previous administration walked away from a proposed settlement on this manufactured cricket crisis. The other time was with Caricom’s intervention when Clive Lloyd was appointed as head of the Interim Management Committee. Here again, an agreement was hammered out but the same two Honourable Ministers that represented the GOG walked away from that resolution. How can anyone blame the GCB for this impasse? Investigative journalism needs to be exercised and blame placed where it is due. The GCB has been made the unwitting scapegoat in this entire fiasco.
It is really hypocritical of these same persons that attended this forum in June 2014 and agreed that there were blatant flaws in the Act, to be now publicly supporting this piece of legislation as the cure all for the purported ills of cricket administration in Guyana.
In another very blatant act of illegality since then, the Sports Minister of the previous administration proceeded to appoint an Ombudsman in clear violation of the very Act that he assisted to pilot through Parliament. How can our leaders act in such grave violation of the very laws that they enact? The current Sports Minister may not be familiar with the history of this matter and it would be in her best interest to research and acquaint herself with this situation before she is deemed to be acting in contravention of the laws of Guyana by blindly following in the footsteps of her predecessor from the previous administration. The first step in this process would be for her to obtain a copy of the said Act, if she has not already done so.
Guyana Cricket Board