President of Guyana Cricket Board (GCB), Drubahadur, made public the intentions of the Board regarding its proposal to upgrade the LBI Community Centre to house the National Academy for cricket in Guyana.The GCB has been engaging both the Government of Guyana and Guysuco for several years now on this initiative and has already obtained approval but is still awaiting the formal legal documentation to facilitate this development. Former Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud had instructed Guysuco a few years ago to hand over the facility to the GCB but Guysuco has been dragging its foot in this matter stagnating our development efforts. A draft Memorandum of Agreement was since presented by the Board to Guysuco a few years ago and there has been little or no movement on the part of Guysuco in making this process move forward to a closure.
Speaking the media today during one of GCB’s development programme sessions at the LBI facility conducted by Alvin Kallicharran, Drubahadur, stated that the GCB has already developed and presented an impressive proposal to Guysuco to lease the land from them and the Board will invest approximately 600 million Guyana Dollars in the next few years to put in practice wickets, fencing, raising the ground, lights and carrying out other general upgrading to the facility to benefit the cricketing community. The President explained that the Board cannot invest that kind of money without proper documentation to show that it has legal permission to do so. The GCB has invested close to $75m a few years ago to construct the existing hostel at that location and over the years the Board has saved a lot of accommodation expenses with the use of this hostel to house its players. Guysuco has allowed the remainder of this facility to deteriorate very badly and due to its current state cannot afford to invest anything at this
“We are very serious about obtaining this facility and transforming it to a venue that can our house our Academy and everyday practice and development for our cricketers. So we are hoping that good sense prevails among those in authority at GUYSUCO,” posited Drubahadur. The WICB has launched its Professional Cricket League last year and the Guyana Jaguars has placed first lien on the inaugural competition that concluded last month. Cricket Guy Inc has contracted 15 players and an additional 12 players that are training year round. Our country is not short on cricket grounds but the system for the management, control and use of these grounds leave much to be desired. The cricket board is being stifled from executing its mandate by these repressive and vindictive measures by a few persons in authority yet still the Board is being blamed for anything that goes wrong.
GCB Territorial Developmental Officer, Colin Stuart, further explained that it is a major challenge everytime there is a competition with the unavailability of grounds, “We have been shifting matches too often due to grounds being booked for other activities. This is no fault of the Clubs as they try their best to accommodate us. Clubs have been forced more and more to lease their facilities for non-cricketing use in order for them to survive. We need our own venue that we can use everyday, all day. Training is essential and I think this LBI ground is the ideal venue since our hostel is already in the compound.”
Former West Indies great, Alvin Kallicharran, said it is sad to see the current state of the LBI facility going to waste like this, noting that the vision the GCB has for the facility will tremendously benefit everyone involved, hence, he is hoping GUYSUCO and/or the Government will facilitate the proposal of the GCB.
Meanwhile, the GCB development Program conducted by Kallicharran continued today at the hostel with the four U19 teams in the GCB/Raj Singh Insurance Brokers Inter-county competitions.
Kallicharran thanked the GCB for inviting him to work with all the youths, noting that it is the first time in his entire career that he had been invited home to be part of the cricket development process and he is very pleased that The GCB has taken this initiative and promised to make a difference with his skills and expertise that he has gained over the years playing around the world.
He told the players that the GCB has created the opportunity for them to play this great game and they should not let it go in vain. He asked them to follow up on this by committing themselves to continous training and be successful.
“Ask yourselves what is your next challenge; do you want to play for Guyana and the West Indies? One half -century wouldn’t get you selected, you have to make centuries and do so consistently. Do the simple things correctly over and over and you will be successful. Don’t cry out that you have problems. Your problem is not that huge that it cannot be solved. Continue to bowl, bat and field for long hours and there wouldn’t be a problem,” advised Kallicharran.
Stuart said it was an excellent initiative by GCB to have Kallicharran passing on his knowledge to the youths, adding that he is happy about the positive feedback. The TDO is looking forward to having more former great players grooming our future stars.