President Donald Ramotar has stated that by moving the third Test match between the West Indies and New Zealand from Guyana, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is threatening regional integration by their actions.
The match which was scheduled to have been played at the Guyana National Stadium from June 26 to 30 was pulled by the WICB because of the recent passage in parliament of the Guyana Cricket Administration Bill. The WICB claims that the Bill gives government too much control over the administration of the game in Guyana.
President Ramotar, speaking to the media at a press conference at State House today, said the threat against regional integration is because cricket has historically played a great role in bringing the people of the Caribbean together, “So what is happening here is a slap against the whole integration movement,” he declared.
He observed that the final decision to move the match rests with the Board, “this is where I would lay the blame at this point in time. I will have a discussion with them and try to see if they could bring people together to find a solution, but they want us to drop some of the things in the Bill that was passed and some other preconditions,” he stated.
“The arrogance of the West Indies Cricket Board is unbelievable. Imagine, they don’t invest anything in cricket,” he stated.
He pointed out that it was Government which does this while at the same time taking the political risks.
The President added that the Board should be aware and consider that all that was being done by passing the bill was a move towards accountability.
Observing that cricket is a very serious issue in Guyana, he pointed out that there was almost unanimity regarding the Cricket Administration Bill which seeks to provide legal administrative guidelines for cricket, which over the years has become a national sport. The Bill was passed by the National Assembly in early May, 2014 with the support of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
Noting that there was full consultation with stakeholders plus the fact that the Bill went through a Special Select Committee, he declared that the only objective of placing the Bill before the National Assembly was “to put some accountability to cricket.”
The President said that this was due to a number of accusations being made about corruption and rigging of elections at the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) and others of that nature. “It’s totally untrue what is being peddled that Government wants to interfere with cricket. We have enough problems on our hands than to want to get involved in the cricket politics, we got bigger politics to deal with.”
He reiterated that the only reason was to create accountability which came out during the discussions and in the Special Select Committee. The President also pointed to the creation of the Ombudsman through co-operation with the WICB which would have brought an end to the Government’s role in the matter.
“I don’t know how this Bill would have given Government control of cricket as some of them are trying to make out,” he said.
President Ramotar reiterated the seriousness of the Bill in its many aspects where all parties in the National Assembly agreed on its focus towards accountability. The actions of the WICB is pointing towards the defence of some vested interest, he noted, and added that like football, there is a lot of money involved in the game of cricket.