Govt’ to discuss way forward for cricket – Norton

—Common ground, national impact key points of discussion

Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility for sport, Dr. George Norton.

Following last week’s High Court ruling that deemed the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) executives illegal, Minister of Social Cohesion with Responsibility for Sport, Dr. George Norton said the government will need to discuss the way forward for cricket.

 The High Court on Wednesday last ruled the executives of the GCB illegal, void and to no effect after it was challenged by Rabindranauth Saywack and the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) for their 2018 elections as well as the appointment of the Cricket Ombudsman by the GCB as well.

Norton, speaking to Stabroek Sport said it will be a collective effort from the government and not just him as the minister.

“We at this point in time will have to abide by the court ruling, we would have to analyze this issue, it is a legal affair, the attorney general is the person who guides us on legal matters and surprisingly both himself, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan and Dr. Rupert Roopnarine who are all avid cricket fans and were all integrally involved in the cricketing act and we got a lot and they have a lot of institutional memory of how this thing works.”

Norton admitted: “These are some hard questions and need further discussion,”but, he said, he was in no rush to make a decision on the way forward because of the importance of the issue but assured that the matter must attract meaningful consultation with everyone.

“This is a tentative situation and me as minister in charge of sport would not attempt to make a decision on my own, it is a collective effort…I have had discussions with both sides, the GCB and those calling themselves cricket stakeholders…the government would not go against court ruling but it is unfortunate because you can’t stop anybody from going to the court but [they need to] ask if is it helping cricket in Guyana?” he said while reflecting that “anybody could go to the court but see what negative effect it could have on the sport,” as he posited that he is “genuinely interested in finding a common situation where everyone is happy, you aren’t going to get everything in your favour and that is just natural to see how much you could compromise and move forward.

The minister said the national impact this ruling has on the sport leaves the door open for uncertainty with the likelihood of Guyana’s participation in regional tournaments left in the dark as well as Guyana’s part in hosting upcoming tours such as India in July.

 “Cricket playing at the national level in Guyana and internationally, when the T20 World Cup came we spoke with the GCB, India is coming in July who do we speak to? Are we going to give up this opportunity just because a group of people is not happy with what the situation is?” Norton questioned.

Norton recalled the success of Keemo Paul and Shimron Hetmyer who have both “put Guyana on the map,” something he suggests other youngsters can do but if these court issues remain, it will have negative impact on the sport.

On the large number of court issues, the Minister pointed out that “nobody gets everything they want, you have to compromise and meet on a mutual ground and in the end have everyone’s attention focused on the development of cricket.

Meanwhile, as circulated in the media, Attorney-at-Law, Arudranauth Gossai is quoted as ready to challenge Norton’s appointment of the Cricket Ombudsman on the grounds of biasness and Norton is of the position that he will need to be convinced more.

“By saying the person was a president of a cricket club what really are you trying to tell the public? Something is attached with being the president of Everest? I don’t know, I mean this is a lawyer, he has integrity, and people’s lives might depend on him,” the minister said.

He went on to further justify his position by questioning he fact that the say “he works for a firm that represented the GCB but that firm also represented the Government as well so you could find all the arguments for and against and I don’t know if that is going to help.”

He added that there was a similar situation when the minister of sport in the previous administration appointed Winston McGowan for the role.

“There again you go, Minister Frank Anthony appointed someone, from the time they appointed him was a lawsuit, the poor man couldn’t get to function, you had a stalemate, I tried to solve the issue, I looked around even in internationally, taking with the then Cricket West Indies President, Dave Cameron, you know and the line I was going I know we would reach a stalemate again but we look at different persons and if you pick a man and everybody got a problem with him then I thought this would be the way to go,” he said.

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