Sad day for cricket administration
Stabroek News
January 26, 2002

Dear Editor,

It really is a sad for cricket in Guyana when the events leading up to and including the Guyana Cricket Board's (GCB) Annual General Meeting (AGM) unfolded recently at the Georgetown Cricket Club and the manoeuvers by the hierarchy of the country's cricket.

At that meeting, one of Guyana's unsung heroes, Mr Basil Butcher, challenged the Presidency of Mr Chetram Singh, but lost out when he did not receive any support from his native county, Berbice, and the Cinderella County, Essequibo. Demerara, it must be noted, voted solidly behind Mr. Butcher, who incidentally was fully endorsed by the living legend and cricket artist, Rohan Bholalall Kanhai. These two gladiators have brought prominence and respect to Guyana and West Indies cricket and we should all feel proud that they are willing to give back to its development.

Mr Singh has been at the helm of both the GCB and the Demerara Cricket Board (DCB) for the last 10 years without any serious challenge regardless of whether cricket was suffering or not. Over the years, a few very brave persons have spoken out openly about this glaring anomaly, but it is only now that some brave soldiers have dared to challenge this situation.

This situation of permanence and perceived ownership of these positions was brought about by the juggling of the constitutions of both the GCB and the DCB. Just before the formation of the DCB in 1991, a committee had drafted new constitutions for these two Boards and under the section headed "Tenure of Office", which included clauses which stated "no President nor Treasurer shall serve the Board for more than five consecutive years". This particular clause did not find favour with the President and was duly struck from the constitutions.

This recommended draft constitution, inclusive of the above clause, was adopted by two area associations, namely the Georgetown Cricket Association (GCA) and East Bank Demerara Cricket Association (EBDCA). Five years can be considered to be more than adequate time for any leader to make an impact on the organisation that he leads and it was an opportune time to give way for fresh leadership and ideas providing there were capable, efficient and qualified replacements willing to take over the mantle.The GCB's AGM was fraught with bullyism and irregularities. Firstly, some very influential person or persons manipulated the situation by deciding to exclude duly appointed delegates of the Berbice Cricket Board, including the son of Basil Butcher, from participating in the said meeting even though the delegates were present at the venue for such purpose. Quite obviously, they felt that they could not count on the support of the excluded ones.

Secondly, the treasurer nor the assistance treasurer was present to answer questions posed relating to the financial statements. There were several conflicting explanations for the absence of the treasurer. At one time, it was reported that he was away on leave, then later it was stated that he had resigned during the year, while in the GCB 2001 executive report, it is stated therein that he will not be seeking re-election.The assistant treasurer of the GCB, who up to last Friday was also the assistant treasurer of the DCB was also absent. Whether this was deliberate or genuine is anybody's guess. Even if this official was present, we are absolutely sure that none of the questions posed on the financial statements could have been adequately answered by him. We are all aware that his presence on both Boards was only to secure the president's position on both Boards since he controls a block of votes. This official was absent from seven of the ten meetings of the DCB and I am positive, bearing in mind his background in accounting, or lack thereof, would not have made a difference.

Even though the Administrator, who is involved in the day-to-day operations of the Board, and other senior executives of the GCB who normally approve payments were present, very little or no answers were received on the several questions asked on the financial statements.

The President duped the entire meeting, moreso the Berbice and Essequibo delegates, into believing that a separate date would be fixed, after the acceptance of the financial statements, for discussion of same. But, lo and behold, after the Berbice and Essequibo representatives rubber stamped their approval to the statements and Demerara voted strongly against its acceptance, the President proceeded with the meeting totally disregarding any further discussions on the said subject.The delegates of the DCB, after witnessing the farcical spectacle decided not to participate further in the charade.

It came as no surprise when the GCB secretary reported to the AGM, that after one year, they had not yet received a response to their position on the Busta Cup decision against Guyana last year. This is a classic example of the contempt with which the West Indies Cricket Board holds the officers of the GCB.After the meeting, a few executives of the DCB along with Basil Butcher and Rohan Kanhai were at the DCC to officiate at an Under 15 trial match when they were approached by the secretary of the GCB who proceeded to bombard Mr. Kanhai to issue a disclaimer on his support for Mr Butcher. Mr Kanhai vehemently refused to do so and walked away from that official who then proceeded to verbally abuse Mr Butcher and one of the VPs of the DCB.

Since the major shake-up at the DCB level, several members of the new executive have been the subject of severe harassment and intimidation. The current executive of the DCB comprises several experienced, qualified and independent personnel who are all capable and proven administrators with the sole aim of improving and developing cricket in Demerara and further afield.

It really behoves the mind to discover what is going on in the minds of these persons who, quite obviously, have their own agendas and are willing to take any measures to secure their positions.It would be interesting to know the secrets and treasures of these Boards that these officials are so desperate to hold onto these positions.

Yours faithfully,Gopaul Singh and

Raj Singh