Essequibo cricket needs someone like Hilbert Foster

Dear Editor,

Significant interest has been focused on the imminent elections of the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB). In this regard, I wish to fully support the candidature of Mr Hilbert Foster as president. His work ethic has been unmatched and once elevated he will provide the impetus to restructure the broken fabric of cricket generally in Guyana.

In Essequibo, the game is facing a natural death and therefore the organisation needs someone of Foster’s calibre to reverse the ailing Essequibo Cricket Board (ECB). No serious approach has been made by the administrators for the past four years to enhance the physical, technical, mental and competitive nature of the sport in the Region. I am indeed saddened that the current regime continues to place a stranglehold on the direction in which the Board is heading, which unfortunately is to the continued detriment of aspiring players. The President of the Essequibo Cricket Board (ECB) was swift to claim credit for the outstanding performance of the Essequibo team currently involved in the franchise league. But what has the ECB done to generate and stimulate the growth and development of the sport? In fact most of the players that are involved in the league are based in Georgetown and play their cricket there. I am therefore amazed that the President could have stated that Essequibo’s cricket is on the rise when the hostel has now become a business to host visitors instead of cricketers. His own constituency, the Pomeroon Cricket Committee, is starved for competition and strong leadership.

The ECB is inactive in terms of competitions and coaching programmes, and there are defunct sub-committees including Cricket Development and Finance. It is indeed laughable that the selectors of the ECB are being paid to select teams and heavens knows what criteria they use to do so since there is no structure and little or no formal and working relationship between the ECB and the area committees. In many cases players are notified personally by the ECB at very short notice, since there are no competitions or trials to determine selection. Such an ad hoc manner of administering the game has now become the norm and will continue in this way unless the Board is restructured and there are administrators who have the vision, passion and knowledge to build capacity with the aim of producing quality players through a well-coordinated system.

At present the Board is directionless, uninspiring and clearly incapable of managing a sport that was once highly acclaimed in Essequibo, having produced players of the calibre of the late Courtney Gonsalves, Alfred Maycock, John Floy, Trenton Peters, Jaimini Singh and Ramcharran Singh, among a host of others. It was due to a strong and committed Board then that these players strove and became competitive. Can the same be said of the current Board? Indeed Essequibians continue to bask in the glory of the achievements of Ransford Beaton.

However, had he remained in Essequibo to bowl on rugged grounds, unprepared pitches and in a hostile environment, then we would not have been privileged to witness his rapid rise to international status. Some of our promising players may suffer should they continue to endure a broken, ineffective and decayed system, and a Board whose only objective is to remain loyal to the Guyana Cricket Board in its present form. The ECB therefore must be restructured and become independent of manipulation. Perhaps Hilbert Foster will be the one to initiate the wind of change and inspire those with his qualities to administer cricket in Essequibo for the best.

Yours faithfully,

Elroy Stephney

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