I have studiously observed the positive impact which newly elected President of the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) Mr Hilbert Foster has already had upon the cricketing scene in Guyana. Noteworthy too is the overwhelming public support he has received, including from former Test cricketers Ramnaresh Sarwan and Mahendra Nagamootoo.
Despite our cricketers excelling personally, which has led to the team winning tournaments regionally, the institutional framework for continuity is fundamentally weak and lacking conceptual growth. Just how can the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) advance our local standard without a level playing field? The deliberate exclusion of the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) as well as the Georgetown Cricket Association and the East Coast Cricket Board in the past must be viewed as a matter of grave concern to all stakeholders, including the government. It is incomprehensible therefore that the governing body whilst determined to forge ahead, remains headless. It was the Essequibo Cricket Board (ECB) which was swift to acknowledge that Essequibo’s cricket was on the rise after the Franchise team won the three day title last year. Regrettably though, it was an overstatement since embarrassingly, the county’s cricketing standard never soared or got off its feet under the leadership of Fizul Bacchus. Most of the players who represented the county in that tournament ply their trade in Georgetown since it is impossible for them to even have a proper net session in Essequibo. Incidentally, Mr Bacchus is the acting President of the GCB whose function is ceremonial.
It is within this context therefore that I view Mr Foster’s intervention as an industrious cricket administrator, as providing a glimmer of hope for the national sport. He has consistently been proven to be a leader of enormous inspiration who can transcend the barriers of politicking, pettiness, race and favouritism. As was consistently mentioned by cricketing pundits, the strength of Berbice’s cricket will determine the future of Guyana’s cricket. Already Mr Foster has padded up and begun his innings quite impressively. Will the GCB continue to deliver no balls and wides through the courts to prevent him and the BCB from achieving greatness? It is time therefore that the Minister with responsibility for Sport, Dr George Norton, address as a matter of national importance the holding of elections by the GCB. The nation of Afghanistan which humbled the West Indies twice in the recent ICC tournament is no coincidence. The opposite scenario is unfolding here whereby the national team is winning, but without the cohesive, inclusive structures that will bring the players to the next level. The continuing isolation of personnel and institutions by the existing GCB will only further undermine the players’ talents. With Mr Foster to the fore in Berbice though, I’m hopeful again that there will be stimulating results on the ground from all three counties.