Sunday, February 18, 2018

Guyana hits back at ‘arrogant’ WICB


The Guyana government has accused the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) of “arrogance and contempt”, as it hit back at the decision to scrap the National Stadium at Providence as a venue for the upcoming third Test against New Zealand.

In a statement from the Ministry of Sports, the government said it regretted the decision by the WICB and contended the Board was attempting to find a “scapegoat” in the situation.

Last Saturday, the WICB announced it would move the third Test of the upcoming series after failing to get assurances from Guyana President Donald Ramotar that the controversial Cricket Administration Bill would not be signed into law.

However, outlining timelines and details of its communication with the WICB, the Guyana government said Board president Dave Cameron wrote to Ramotar last Friday raising concerns about the Cricket Administration Bill, and requesting the leader not sign the legislation until these concerns were addressed.

Cameron’s correspondence asked for a response from the president by 6 p.m. of the same day.

According to the government release, Sports Minister Dr Frank Anthony responded at 6:22 p.m., on behalf of Ramotar, who was out of Georgetown.

In this letter–a copy of which was attached to the government release–Anthony said the government was prepared to grant the WICB its request, and asked that Cameron list all his concerns with the legislation and forward within 14 days.

 Anthony said the WICB’s concerns would have been examined to “determine whether a compromise was possible”.

The Guyana government said it received a response from Cameron at 6:54 p.m. (local time), indicating that its response was “unacceptable” and that the letter required the seal of the president. The WICB then informed that the Test match would be moved.

“It is hoped that the arrogance and contempt assumed by the WICB, as it purports to give directions to a sovereign government of a CARICOM member state, is noted,” the Guyana government said.

“That aside, the statement issued by the WICB was clearly structured to convey a very jaundiced impression of their exchanges with the government on this matter.

“The government of Guyana does not discount the fact that the West Indies Cricket Board may be looking for a scapegoat in this matter, since their agents in Guyana (Guyana Cricket Board) were [restrained] by a court order from acting or holding themselves out as officers of the Guyana Cricket Board and as agents of the WICB.

“The net result being that WICB has no agents in Guyana to act on their behalf in relation to hosting of the Third Test between West Indies and New Zealand.”

The Guyana government also defended the legislation which was passed in the Guyana Parliament last month, contending that it brought a new level of transparency and accountability to cricket administration.

According to the release, the bill also addressed the issue of “rigged and fraudulent elections” and “financial irregularities”, which have plagued Guyana’s cricket.

“This Bill does not, in any way whatsoever, allow or permit, directly or indirectly, government’s involvement in the administration of cricket in Guyana, save and except a singular instance, where the minister is ascribed a function when the act comes into operation. After that initiating act, the Minister’s role disappears,” the government argued.

“Government, therefore, rejects all or any contention or insinuation that this Bill presents an opportunity for governmental intrusion into the administration of cricket in Guyana.”

In announcing its decision to move the Test, the WICB expressed “serious reservations” about the bill, arguing that the legislation “thrusts the administration of cricket in Guyana from an independent body to the government of Guyana”. —CMC