– WICB President visit to Guyana scuttled by GOG
The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) has released a full statement on the Cricket Administration Bill, sharing their views on the document and the recent efforts by WICB President Dave Cameron to come to a positive resolution with Government.
Kaieteur Sport presents the full statement from the GCB:
The Guyana Cricket Board has conducted a thorough review of the actual Bill that was passed by the National Assembly on May 15th 2014 and wishes to unreservedly reject this Bill/Act in its present form. The GCB notes that the President has so far withheld his assent to this dubious piece of legislation and trust that better judgment will prevail by the powers that be in order to have this Bill corrected and so avoid further widespread confusion and chaos.
The GCB also endorses the preliminary statement issued by the WICB on the said Bill and now wishes expand on those sentiments expressed therein:
1. Purpose of Bill/Act
On numerous occasions, the GOG/Minister of Sport had publicly stated that the singular major purpose of this proposed legislation was to incorporate the GCB into a legal entity following the ‘obiter dicta’ comments made by the Chief Justice during the Haniff v GCB ruling notwithstanding the fact that later Orders by both the CCJ and our local Appeal Court confirmed that the GCB as an unincorporated entity was determined to be legal and proper. The GCB actually supports the incorporation of the various cricket boards since this would remove any element of doubt regarding the legality of these entities.
In this regard and, as the major stakeholder in this process, the GCB had made a conscious decision to cooperate with the process initiated by the GOG. Upon a written request from the Select Committee, the GCB duly made its oral and written submissions to that body and held numerous subsequent discussions and consultations with the Minister of Sport. The GCB can justifiably feel slighted that almost none of its recommendations were adopted by the Select Committee and, as such, can easily surmise that this process was merely a shambolic act. Our position was always made abundantly clear to the Chairman of the Select Committee (the said Minister of Sports) and the public at large that the Bill strayed far away from its original intended purpose and the GCB cannot support any unconscionable actions. Our unequivocal support for the Bill/Act was guaranteed if the Act had fulfilled its singular and original purpose. The GCB totally rejects the new assertions of accountability and rigged elections recently made by the President of Guyana. Our Treasurer has already dealt with these ludicrous allegations in a separate release but it must be stated that the WICB observed our elections and our financial records were scrutinized on many occasions, including up to date annual audits by a reputable Firm in Guyana.
2. Seizure of Assets
The GCB has continuously acquired assets, both movable and immovable, ever since its inception in 1943, to facilitate the efficient administration of this Board. We are proud to announce that these assets now total in excess of G$200,000,000 and stands unencumbered of any debts or liabilities primarily through prudent fiscal management and efficient administration of the funds garnered by our Board. The funds that were utilized for these acquisitions were acquired through the constant support from our parent body, the WICB, and sponsorships. These assets belong to our membership with our commercial arm, established with the blessings of the WICB and as required by our constitution, having a vested interest. This Bill seeks to extract these assets from these private legal entities and transfer them to another entity for absolutely no consideration. The GCB strongly rejects this aggressive action as these assets are considered to be private property and this is tantamount to seizure of assets from a private party.
3. Political intervention in the sport of cricket
The ICC is very clear on its position regarding political interference in cricket administration and the Bill/Act clearly promotes this unwarranted measure of political interference and constitutes a risk which the GCB is not prepared to undertake. The following bullet points highlight the direct references to political intervention in this regard:
-The Bill/Act empowers the Minister to appoint the date for the GCB’s first elections;
-The Minister is further empowered to appoint a Cricket Ombudsman and further dictates that the GCB must pay this Government appointed Cricket Ombudsman;
-The Bill/Act also empowers someone, presumably the Minister, to set the rules of procedure for the office of the Ombudsman through prescribed regulations.
-The Bill/Act unilaterally inserts new government drafted constitutions for the GCB and the DCB totally unapproved by the memberships of those respective boards.
– Restriction of the GCB members to amend their constitution if its provisions are found to be deficient or ambiguous. Only Parliament can amend the GCB’s constitution.
We view these strategic political interventions as a clear demonstration of intent to establish control of the next Executive Committees of the GCB and the DCB. The GCB views these actions as totally unacceptable and definitely not in accordance with the WICB/ICC regulations with the potential to have Guyana banned as a cricketing nation. Noteworthy is the fact that no such Governmental intrusions are embodied in the Cricket Administration Acts of Trinidad and Barbados. These Acts simply legislates the respective Boards to become body corporates similar to the original intention of this Act. The GCB is prepared to endorse immediately an act similar to that of the TTCB or BCA.
4. Sanctity of Constitutions
The GCB and its member Boards all have valid constitutions developed and agreed upon by its members but these sacred documents were unceremoniously disregarded and replaced. The Bill/Act has crafted and enacted brand new constitutions for the GCB and the Demerara Cricket Board without the input and support from these Boards and their members. We strongly believe that the constitution of any country or entity is a very sacred document and the rules and provisions enshrined in these documents should be respected and strictly adhered to. Only the memberships of those entities or the citizenship of a country should be allowed to amend or tinker with these documents and any such amendments must be conducted in strict accordance with the provisions of those constitutions. This highly improper action embedded in this Bill is be very dubious at best and surely invites judicial remedy for the aggrieved parties.
Further, the Bill/Act makes specific provision for the County Boards only to amend their constitutions and rules but the GCB is NOT so empowered and, in fact, seems to be prohibited from doing so by the Bill/Act. This effectively means that the GCB’s constitution can only be amended by Parliament and not by its members.
In addition, we have delved into these constitutions appended to the Bill/Act and there are numerous inaccuracies and contradictions within these said documents themselves and also when compared with the similar provisions of the Bill/Act. This can only lead to widespread chaos and litigation ad nauseum.
5. Pending Litigation- Separation of Powers Doctrine
The Berbice, Demerara and the Guyana cricket boards are all wrapped up in several pieces of litigation within themselves and others and it is absolutely necessary that these pending litigated matters be allowed to take their natural progression through the judicial system. This piece of legislation seems to be encroaching on those judicial matters which, surely, can be further challenged on that basis alone. It is important to note that recent rulings by the High Court has cleared the way for both the GCB and DCB to fully operate unhindered, this Bill/Act is now seeking to circumvent those very rulings.
In addition, there is a current challenge by the GCB against this said Bill/Act and we strongly feel that litigants are more prone to accept the judgment emanating from the judicial system rather than have a jaundiced piece of legislation foisted upon them by the legislature.
Mr. Dave Cameron visit to Guyana
We find it necessary to address this issue as we think the facts have been misconstrued to embarrass Mr. Cameron, GCB and the WICB. Subsequent to discussions between one of our Directors on the WICB and Minister Anthony, Mr. Cameron was invited to Guyana to discuss the present issues with a view that a solution would enable Guyana to keep hosting WICB cricket and programmes. Mr. Cameron spent three (3) days in Guyana and met with GCB officials and their legal representatives on Sunday 25th May. He also met with Minister of Sports, Frank Anthony accompanied by his Permanent Secretary Mr. Alfred King, in the presence of Director Anand Sanasie on Monday, 26th May at the Pegasus Hotel. Discussions surrounded the Cricket Administration Bill, its effects and likely sanctions. Minister Anthony thereafter made arrangements for Mr. Cameron to meet President Ramotar at 3:30pm the following day after his Cabinet meeting. This meeting was reconfirmed by Minister Frank Anthony at about 2:30pm of the said day. Mr. Cameron accompanied by Mr. Sanasie arrived at the Office of the President at 3:15pm who were both seated in the reception area when Minister Anthony informed them that the President Ramotar had another meeting and cannot see Mr. Cameron. No apology or time was given for another meeting.
Mr. Cameron then informed Minister Anthony that the WICB has no alternative but to proceed with whatever decisions came out of the WICB teleconference on Friday 30th May. On Thursday 29th May, Minister Anthony had contacted Mr. Sanasie to enquire if a decision to relocate the New Zealand Test Match was already made by the WICB; Mr. Sanasie informed the Minister that the decision will be made at a teleconference the following day (Friday 30th May). Further discussions ensued between Mr. Sanasie and Minister Anthony as both of these gentlemen seemed very interested in saving the Test Match for the benefit of Guyanese. Mr. Sanasie was then summoned by Minister Anthony to a meeting at 11:30am on Friday 30th May at which meeting more discussions were held resulting in Minister Anthony promising to have a meeting immediately with President Ramotar.
At about 1:30pm on Friday 30th May Minister Anthony contacted Mr. Cameron via telephone and requested a letter from the WICB President stating his basic concerns and requesting a stay to the Bill/Act until the WICB is satisfied with its content. Mr. Cameron requested and was assured by Minister Anthony that President Ramotar will respond. Mr. Cameron reported same to his Board of Directors at their teleconference at 3:30pm and sent the letter at about 4:30pm when he came off the teleconference. Minister Anthony then responded on behalf of President Ramotar stating that the President was unavailable. The response was rejected by the WICB President on the grounds that an undertaking was given by Minister Anthony that a response would come under Presidential Seal. Mr. Anand Sanasie then engaged Mr. Cameron and secured a 24hrs extension of time (5pm Saturday 31st May) but Mr. Anthony never responded to his calls, text or email.
The GCB is confident that Director Sanasie did everything possible to keep international cricket playing in Guyana as he did over the past years against tremendous challenges. The GOG must now answer to our cricketers, businesses and youths why they have to suffer because of a few misguided souls. The President and Executives of the GCB are prepared to represent the facts stated above, with evidence, and challenge anyone to refute them.
The GCB is also prepared to meet with President Ramotar immediately to answer any questions he may have as we are of the opinion that he is being fed misinformation and should be apprised of the truth.
In closing, the GCB wishes to encourage everyone to come to the table and work together for the overall improvement and development of our cricket and cricketers in Guyana. We have suffered tremendously during the past 5 years through a manufactured crisis and the GCB and the general public have had enough. We need to move on!