The Guyana Cricket Board has a duty to develop cricket all over Guyana
Stabroek News
March 22, 2002

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Dear Editor,

I read Neil Kumar's letter which appeared in the March 15th issue of the Guyana Chronicle under the caption "In total disagreement with War of Words" This letter [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] was also published in the Stabroek News of 14th March. I presume that Neil Kumar wrote in his capacity as Director of Sports. This is therefore the crux of the matter.

As Director of Sports one would expect Kumar to be even handed, fair and credible. This does not appear to be the case. Indeed Kumar departs from standards of fairness and credibility when he wonders about "the development of cricket in the mining town of Linden" and implies that apart from himself and Neville Sarjoo no one else tried to develop cricket in Linden. This is a veiled attack on Basil Butcher. No one is fooled. Every reasonable and fair minded citizen would recognise that Basil Butcher has made a contribution to cricket in Linden and Guyana as a whole. What is disturbing, however, is the persistent attempt to deny him recognition. This denial is based, in my judgement, on a deliberate misunderstanding. The Guyanese people have been misled to believe that one man, Basil Butcher, is somehow responsible for the state of cricket in Linden. The true position is that the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) is responsible for the development and promotion of cricket in Guyana. Paragraph (a) of its Constitution states:

"Recognising that Cricket is the National game of Guyana and the cultural fulfilment it brings to Guyanese, the Board dedicates itself to develop, promote, organize and regulate the game throughout Guyana, and to stimulate the formation of structures and the provision of facilities to raise the standard of the game to its highest potential".

The finger of guilt and neglect of cricket in Linden should be pointed squarely at the GCB and not at Basil Butcher. Where, after more than a decade of the existence of the current Board, is a plan for the development of cricket in Linden or for that matter Guyana?.

Kumar writes that cricket is "developing" under the current Board. Other writers have made a similar claim. But these are claims, that lack conviction and are unpersuasive. Every Guyanese know what is the true situation on the ground. Having made his claims. Kumar concedes that Singh has been at the helm of the Cricket Board for a decade. He further states that Singh told him that he was only too willing to leave and only held on to the presidency because "his entire crew was fully behind him." If Kumar believes this, then he is not familiar with the personal dynamics of the Board. I am aware, as are others, that there are persons on the Board who are not happy with Singh's administration and who might be prepared in the future to challenge him for the presidency. In any case, these revelations denote an interesting relationship between the Cricket Board and the Sports Commission or the Director of Sports. The Guyanese people on the whole and in particular the sporting public would be interested in knowing the exact nature of this particular relationship.

Kumar also makes a plea for peace and harmony because the "war of words" is having a negative impact on our young cricketers. While I agree that there should be peace and harmony, this should not be at the expense of a person's right to defend his integrity and correct mis statements and falsehoods, which are being peddled in the press.

Let me also say that the most lasting and negative impact on our young people and one which certainly would make them thing twice in choosing cricket as a career, is the constant unsubstantiated and scurrilous attacks on cricketers who have brought renown and honour to their country. In this regard, I direct attention to the ugly personal attack on Basil Butcher, which appeared under the name of one Balram Ramrattan in the March 15 17 issue of the Kaieteur News.

Yours faithfully,

R.M. Austin