GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) member of parliament in Guyana, Dr Rupert Roopnarine said the recent action of the West Indies Cricket Board of Control (WICB) is ridiculous and that he is not surprised by the behaviour of the board, which has never filled him with any particular confidence.
On Sunday, the WICB indicated that the third Test match between West Indies and New Zealand, which was scheduled to be played at the Guyana National Stadium from June 26 to 30, had been removed from Guyana.
Speaking on the issue of what may have prompted the decision of the WICB, Roopnarine said if the decision was based on the Cricket Administration Bill, then he challenged the WICB to show where in the bill the government is given power over Guyana Cricket Board (GCB).
The Cricket Administration Bill was passed in the National Assembly on May 15 last, with the support of APNU.
“Mr. Cameron was invited to speak at the select committee, they had submitted a document with their position on the bill… we were particularly careful in our crafting and consideration of the bill to ensure that we remove all areas of the bill than can be open to the interpretation of government interference,” Roopnarine said.
On May 30, a letter was sent to President Donald Ramotar from the Board’s president Dave Cameron raising concerns about the bill and requesting that the head of state not assent to it until their concerns are addressed.
Sport Minister Dr Frank Anthony was asked to respond, and the minister wrote to Cameron requesting that he detail all his concerns with regards the bill.
Cameron responded that the response had to be dealt with under the presidential seal and then informed of the decision to remove the match.
The Cricket Administration Bill outlined that a very limited role has been given to the minister of sport.
The only role the minister has as it relates to the operations of the Guyana Cricket Board is to elect a cricket ombudsman who will oversee the first election.
“I believe the minister makes a single appearance in the bill and that he will be the person who will trigger the first election for the board, so I don’t know what is the WICB basing their judgment on. I believe they are grinding an axe, it maybe their own or somebody else’s own,” Roopnarine said.
The Guyana Cricket Administration Bill seeks to provide legal administrative guidelines for cricket, which over the years has become a national sport.
Anthony, who presented the bill to the National Assembly, said it had been drafted after extensive consultations with all stakeholders and, more so, following recommendations in a ruling made by the High Court.
The bill makes it legal for the GCB to be established as a corporate body comprising the Demerara, Essequibo and the Berbice Cricket Boards, all of which will also be made corporate entities.
A section of the bill will address the issue of phantom voting for the election of persons for administrative positions and at the same time, gives limited power to the minister of sport.
The National Assembly was also told that the bill provides for better financial accountability. As such, the GCB, under this new legislation, will be required to present timely audited financial reports to the National Assembly, as well as the National Sports Commission.
Further, Roopnarine, in showing his party’s support when the bill was presented to the National Assembly, had stated that it was his hope the efforts would bring a solution to the issue of cricket administration locally.
“It is out of the recognition that something needed to be done and urgently that the government stepped in and, as previously had been done in Pakistan and Sri Lanka without drawing and incurring any sanction from the ICC, it installed and established the IMC.”