All-male cricket body executive returned en-bloc
More $$ spent on legal fees than cricket balls - member
By Clyde Pestano
Stabroek News
February 29, 2004

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The entire executive of the Georgetown Cricket Associa-tion (GCA) was returned en-bloc last Thursday at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the GNIC Sports Club pavilion, Woolford Avenue.

Soon after the former executive was dissolved by the returning officer, Deme-rara Cricket Board (DCB) president, Claude Raphael, Sherlock Atwell, a former vice president, submitted an en-bloc nomination from the floor, which was seconded.

Attorney-at-Law Emily Dodson, a member of the Guyana Women's Cricket Association (GWCA) - an associate member of the GCA - objected to the en-bloc nomination saying it may be unlawful for a former executive member to nominate himself. But Raphael said the executive had been dissolved, hence when Atwell made the nomination, he was an ordinary member.

Members were asked whether to proceed with such a nomination and 13 of the 23 delegates gave their approval by way of a show of hands. As a consequence, it was not possible for single nominations for positions to be made from the floor. At this point, some associate members most notably Neil Barry from Malteenoes expressed disgust, declaring: "Cricket will now be killed in Georgetown!"

The en-bloc nomination proceeded nevertheless and the same delegates who acquiesced to that form of nomination, gave their blessings for a return of the previous executive. Five delegates abstained from voting and a similar number voted nay.

Those re-elected are Harold Dhanraj as president, Sherlock Atwell and Ronald Williams as vice-presidents, Ramgobind Ramkissoon, secretary, James Dean, assistant secretary, Deryck Neblette, treasurer, Shawn Massiah, assistant treasurer, Alfred Mohamed as chairman of the competitions committee, Dennis Wilson, marketing manager, Nazimul Drepaul, chairman of selectors, Reyaz Hussein, public relations officer and R. Rampersaud, auditor.

Earlier, there was heated discussion during item number six on the agenda, dealing with any other business. Barry, a former national cricketer and vice-president of the Malteenoes Sports Club, took the GCA executive to task for what he termed unacceptable behaviour.

The former national cricketer lambasted the GCA executive for taking too long to deal with the application of the Diplomat Sports Club from South Georgetown for membership. The application was submitted since last June. Barry said such slothfulness was unacceptable and inimical to the interests of clubs and the GCA itself and pleaded for more efficiency and efficacy by the association. Diplomat club was subsequently granted membership after on the spot recommendations from Malteenoes and Transport Sports Club.

The Malteenoes VP was also unhappy with under-15 cricket being played too late in the year. He said as a result the competition was usually done hurriedly. He suggested the competition be held in the month of August when schoolchildren especially are at home for the holidays.

Dodson also took aim at the GCA executive and claimed that some members were guilty of practicing nepotism. She cited several instances where the practice had occurred.

She was also unhappy with the state of women's cricket, especially in Georgetown and chided the GCA for not doing enough to further the interests of women cricketers especially with regard to the provision of grounds when needed.

President Harold Dhanraj in his report before the elections reviewed the performance of the GCA for last year. According to him it was a challenging period since the association had to deal with lack of sponsors and court matters involving the GCA and the Demerara Cricket Board (DCB).

Dhanraj disclosed plans to raise $15 million from a cricket raffle, which offers $1 million as the first prize along with several other prizes, which will be drawn weekly. In addition, persons will be contracted to sell tickets with a return of 25% on each ticket.

The president said that the GCA was hoping to encourage schools, clubs and other organizations to come on board and earn money while at the same time helping the GCA achieve its objectives.

When the financial report was circulated Bishwa Panday secretary of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) took note that $75,000 had been spent on legal fees. Panday said in all his 20 years of cricket administration especially in Georgetown it was the first time to the best of his knowledge that an association or club had had to spend money on litigation. He lamented the fact that the GCA had spent more on legal fees than cricket balls ($61,000).

The secretary said that in his capacity as a representative of the Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) he was even more concerned about the fees paid by the Demerara Cricket Board (DCB) for its battery of lawyers. He urged Raphael to conduct an immediate investigation to determine how much money the former board paid to its lawyers. The DCB president said an inquiry was currently underway and the findings will be known soon on that issue.

With the acceptance of Diplomats as an associate member, the executive pledged to focus more on incorporating southern areas of the capital city into the cricketing fraternity with help from the Mayor & City Council.