Following a call by government to meet with members of Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) and cricket stakeholders, Minister of Education with responsibility for sports, Nicolette Henry, said yesterday that she will meet with Cricket Ombudsman, Dr. Winston Mc Gowan to chart a way forward as it relates to holding elections for the cricket board.
Dr McGowan was appointed Guyana’s first Cricket Ombudsman in 2005, by then Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr Frank Anthony and his appointment was subsequently approved by the then cabinet.
He was previously charged with overseeing the elections of the various county boards and the GCB in accordance with the Cricket Administration Act which was successfully passed in the National Assembly by the previous government in May 2014.
However, the GCB had filed an injunction, preventing the enforcement of the Act.
The Act was challenged by Anand Sanasie and other GCB personnel on the grounds that the Ombudsman was not properly appointed and that the Upper Demerara Cricket Association (including Linden) must not be a part of the structure of Guyana’s cricket and therefore must not be allowed to vote.
The injunction was quashed on June 16, 2017 by Justice Nareshwar Harnanan, paving the way for elections but the GCB appealed the decision by Justice Harnanan.
At yesterday’s meeting which included Attorney General (AG), Basil Williams and cricket stakeholders at the AG’s Chambers, Minister Henry indicated that it was prudent of her office to seek guidance from the Attorney General, in an effort to be better guided on the legal implications of her actions. As such, after clarity was sought, the Minister explained that she is now in a position to ensure that there is due process before the elections are held.
“I will certainly act within the powers granted to me as the Minister with responsibility of sport to ensure that due process takes places and since there is no current impediment to holding of those elections, I will certainly provide the necessary permission so that that process can take place,” Henry declared.
According to the Cricket Administration Act, the Ombudsman and the Minister responsible for Sport, are the ones to set the date for the elections.
Minister Henry made it clear that cricket is one of those sports disciplines where government’s involvement is very minimal in terms of its administration and therefore this is where the Ombudsman comes in.
“So I’ll have discussions with the Ombudsman and we will take it from there but I will certainly meet with the stakeholders in a separate breakout working meeting just to ensure that the necessary guidance is given in keeping with powers invested in me. So that’s pretty much where I stand in terms of being given the go ahead from the AG and Minister of Legal Affairs so I’ll certainly take it to the next step,” the Minister indicated to both sides of the cricketing political divide.
This latest development can be seen as a significant step towards regularizing the administration of the sport. The board has not held elections since 2009 owing to the numerous court injunctions.
Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the GCB, Sanasie said that the board will continue to use the judicial system to have its objections heard.
He, however, noted that the GCB is willing to work with both parties in an effort to have the matter resolved. Sanasie maintained that the Cricket Administration Act is flawed as he flagged the previous Government for not including the GCB in the consultation process before the Bill was laid in the National Assembly.