In an unforeseen turn of events, Minister of Social Cohesion with Responsibility for Sports, Dr George Norton has appointed Attorney-at-Law Stephen Lewis, as the Cricket Ombudsman while setting January 26, 2020 as the date for the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) elections.
Lewis, a former President of the Everest Cricket Club, had been appointed by the GCB back in May, 2018 to the post at the board’s general meeting where he attained more votes that Justice Cecil Kennard.
However, the Berbice Cricket Board had moved to the court to halt the appointment of Lewis and an interim injunction was granted. Norton had continuously stressed the damaging effect the numerous court injunctions have had on the administration of cricket in Guyana.
This publication understands that Norton had been seeking advice for the government’s position on the issue since May, 2018.
In documents seen by this publication, Minister Norton maintained that the first Ombudsman was duly appointed by then Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr Frank Anthony “who resigned without completing the required task envisaged by the Guyana Cricket Administration Act #14 of 2014.”
The documentation, which effected Lewis’ appointment as of May 12, 2019 further stated that pursuant to consultations with Cricket West Indies and the requirements of the act, Lewis has been selected to perform the roles of the verification and supervision of the associations and County Boards’ elections in a timely manner.
Article 17 (a) of the Guyana Cricket Administration Act of 2014 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) states 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.”
While indicating a date for the GCB elections, Norton noted that if the Ombudsman is unable to complete the verification of the clubs “or, should it, for any reason, not be possible to have the GCB elections, on that date, a further date shall be fixed by the Cricket Ombudsman in accordance with the Cricket Administration Act.
Article 10 of the Guyana Cricket Administration Act states:
1. There shall be an authority known as the Cricket Ombudsman who shall hold office for a period of three years after the Ombudsman has been elected by a two-third majority of the members present and voting at an extraordinary meeting of the Guyana Cricket Board.
2. Where there are two or more candidates vying for the post of cricket ombudsman and no candidate receives a two third majority, there shall be a run off between the two candidates with the highest number of votes in which the Ombudsman shall be chosen by a majority vote.
3. The primary task of the Cricket Ombudsman for the duration of his appointment shall be the responsibility for the verification of the Register of Clubs and for performing the functions of Returning Officer for the elections of the membership of the Guyana Cricket Board.
4. The other functions of the Ombudsman and the rules of office shall be prescribed by regulations.