Majority Stakeholders group up in arms over appointment of Cricket Ombudsman

-calls on Minister Norton to resign with immediate effect

Left to Right Raymond Barton, Esse Peters, Bissoondyal Singh, Rabindranauth Saywack, Roger Harper, Bradley Frederick, Marvin Burns and Malcolm Peters.

A group calling itself “Majority Stakeholders” says that it is rejecting the appointment of Steven Lewis as Cricket Ombudsman, referring to the appointment by Minister of Social Cohesion, George Norton, as unethical.

At a press conference held at the Malteenoes Sports Club yesterday, President of the Georgetown Cricket Association, Roger Harper along with Rabindranauth Saywack of the Berbice Cricket Board, President of the East Coast Cricket Board, Bissondyal Singh and others shared their views on Lewis’ appointment.

Minister Norton recently appointed Lewis as the Cricket Ombudsman (under Article 17 of the Cricket Administration Act) and he also had identified a date for the hosting of the first Guyana Cricket Board elections as stated in Article 7.

Article 17 of the Act states: “The Minister, after meaningful consultation with West Indies Cricket Board, shall (a) be responsible for the appointment of the Cricket Ombudsman…”

Injunction filed –subhead

It was disclosed yesterday that an injunction has already been filed against Lewis after he had been named Cricket Ombudsman by the Guyana Cricket Board in 2018.

On the subject of its unethical appointment, the body said: “Lewis had previously been named Ombudsman by the GCB but was injuncted from performing the duty as Ombudsman in an ongoing Court matter filed by the Berbice Cricket Board in Fixed Date Application (FDA) 2018-HC-DEM-CIV-FDA-808.”

Singh said that the body does not recognize the appointments of Norton nor the GCB adding that it seemed strange that in a country with approximately 750,000 people only one individual had the quality to function as the Cricket Ombudsman.

Harper said that Lewis’ appointment gave the Caribbean another chance to laugh at Guyana with the Minister appointing the same person elected by the GCB.

Harper, a former West Indies player, insisted that Lewis’ affiliation should be enough grounds to disqualify him from the post and reiterated the need for leadership in the administration of cricket.

“Norton did not exercise due diligence in the appointment and it is extremely disappointing that the Minister did not engage in a consultative process with stakeholders in order for a fair and impartial candidate to be identified,” a statement from the group declared.

The body cited Lewis’ affiliation with lawyer for the GCB, Roysdale Forde, to whose chambers he is attached as reasons why the appointment was unethical.

Forde has represented the GCB in numerous court cases.

According to the Majority Stakeholders, Norton is a defendant in an ongoing court case and it is “particularly disturbing that the Minister, through his permanent secretary, had declared in a sworn affidavit to the court that the GCB executives were invalid and illegal, that he believed that they hijacked the GCB and that the process by which Mr. Stephen Lewis was appointed is illegal and the court has the power to set it aside.”

Yet, they declared, the above notwithstanding, Norton went ahead and appointed Lewis.

“The appointment of Stephen Lewis could well be construed as a disregard and disrespect for the Honorable High Court of Guyana and for the people of Guyana especially stakeholders of cricket as Mr. Stephen Lewis is effectively two Ombudsman, one appointed by the Minister under section 17 and the other appointed by the illegal GCB under section 10,” the Majority Stakeholders declared.

Singh said that the group does not recognize either appointment adding that  it was up to the court in the matter put before it to decide who has the authority to install an Ombudsman and what steps would be taken.

By virtue of Minister Norton’s appointment of Lewis, the body called on him “to resign with immediate effect in order that our Government be spared any embarrassment.”

The body further called “on his Excellency President David Granger to have this ridiculous and unacceptable decision rescinded and to have a suitable person appointed.”­

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