Injunction filed to quash Ombudsman appointment

Roysdale Forde

Two issues relating to the appointment of the new Cricket Ombudsman are now attracting the attention of the court.

The Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) has filed an injunction against the functioning of the Ombudsman while a separate motion was filed to quash the appointment of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) named Cricket Ombudsman.

On May 3, the GCB held an extraordinary meeting where Attorney-At-Law Stephen Lewis was named to the post of Cricket Ombudsman.

Stephen Lewis

According to a release, Lewis had secured the majority of votes for the post when he came up against Justice Cecil Kennard. On May 4, there was a continuation of an ongoing court issue between the East Coast Cricket Board (ECCB) along with the Georgetown Cricket Association (GCA) and the Upper Demerara Cricket Association (UDCA) who called for the elections of the Demerara Cricket Board (DCB) with the East Bank Cricket Association (EBCA) and the West Demerara Cricket Association (WDCA) listed in the court action.

Following that, on May 6, two actions were filed in the court, one which sought to first challenge the legality of the appointment of Lewis while the second sought to stop him from functioning in the capacity of Cricket Ombudsman.

According to Attorney-At-Law, Arudranuth Gossai, who is representing the BCB in the actions, the basis of the argument was the issue of the lack of a quorum.

According to the court action, there must be 14 members to form the quorum and according to Gossai, the BCB and the Essequibo Cricket Board are the only two valid boards.

However, a GCB source said that the appointment of the Ombudsman rested in the GCB’s domain since the first appointment was made by the Minister.

The GCB source said since the person appointed by the Minister has since resigned, it was up to the GCB to appoint the Cricket Ombudsman.

Gossai, however, questioned why there were members of the DCB present at the extraordinary meeting when legally there is no DCB.  He told Stabroek Sports that there is also a perception of bias in the appointment of Lewis, whom he claims, has a strong connection to affiliates of the GCB.

Bissoondial Singh

“Lewis is a member of the firm that Roysdale Forde, who represents the West Demerara Cricket Association and the East Bank Cricket Association and has been a President of the Everest Cricket Club,” Gossai argued.

Gossai said that according to the Guyana Cricket Administration Act 2014 21:03, the governing Minister must appoint the Cricket Ombudsman and the Ombudsman must see the first election before the authority to elect a new ombudsman falls into the hands of the GCB.

Article 10 (1) of the Guyana Cricket Administration Act 2014 Chapter 21:03 states “….the Ombudsman has been elected by a two thirds majority of the members present and voting at an extraordinary meeting of the Guyana Cricket Board.”

Article 17 (a) states that the Minister after meaningful consultation with the West Indies Cricket Board “shall be responsible for the appointment of a Cricket Ombudsman who shall be responsible for the verification of the clubs and for performing the functions of the returning officer of the first election of membership of the Guyana Cricket Board” while Article 17 (b) continues that the Minister “shall have no part to play in respect to the holding of subsequent elections of the Guyana Cricket Board and the appointment of the Ombudsman.”

Gossai stated is a two part duty and failure to fulfill one part makes the appointment still in the hands of the minister.

“The Minister could appoint 100 Ombudsmen until he carries out the function then the GCB can appoint after,” Gossai argued.

On the other hand, the GCB source says that the Minister had already appointed an Ombudsman in Winston McGowan who reportedly resigned from the position after a court issue surrounding his appointment was raised.

According to ECCB President Bissoondial Singh, “There is no legal GCB since the last election was held in 2009 with the body functioning for two years, ending in 2011.”

Singh went on to posit that there is no proof of the resignation of McGowan from the post.

“Even if he resigned, the Minister still has the statutory duty to ensure the part of law is followed,” Singh said adding that “the quorum of 14 was not met since there is no DCB and the BCB had not taken part in any of the meetings,” boldly saying that “if anyone acted as a representative of the BCB at the meetings, they did so illegally.”

Singh said that even if McGowan has resigned there is still an issue to address with Section 7 of the respective act calling for the Minister to set a date for the first election.

The issue is expected to be addressed in court during the upcoming week.

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