Candidates make pitch for GMR&SC presidency
By Avenash Ramzan
The Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club (GMR&SC) Annual General Meeting and elections are scheduled for Thursday evening and candidates have been making a last-ditch effort to convince members that they have the best plan for the sport going forward. News Room Sport caught up with the presidential candidates, who shared their vision for motor-racing.
The incumbent Mahendra Boodhoo is the presidential candidate of a team that includes Johnny Carpenter (Vice-president), John Bennett (Secretary), Hansraj Singh (Treasurer), Noel Shewjattan (Assistant Secretary/Treasurer), Azim Jaffar (Club Captain), Brian Tenpow (Technical Advisor) and Committee Members Diana D’Ornellas, Harold Hopkinson, Azaad Hassan and Mark Vieira.
During an exclusive interview on Wednesday, Boodhoo told News Room Sport of the four platforms he has campaigned on.
“One is to increase our local participation and local competitors in terms of keeping stable rules so people have time to build their cars and to compete. Also I’m campaigning on fostering the CMRC (Caribbean Motor Racing Championship) so we have better regional competitions and we can attract more competitors coming into the country,” Boodhoo highlighted.
He continued, “Thirdly, we’re partnering with the FIA (world governing body) for accreditation, track license, insurance- those things at the higher level- and infrastructure work. We need a lot more infrastructural development for our track to be certified by FIA. We have to have an extended track, safety features in place…so those are my main platforms that I’m campaigning on.”
Boodhoo, who has been at the helm of the sport for the last year, expressed confidence that the members would vote in his favour and allow him another term in office.
“Oh, I’m confident I will win it- I have lots of support. If you look at my track record and my history it has always proven to increase and develop the sport, so my track record speaks for itself,” Boodhoo boasted.
Reflecting on the past year, Boodhoo said the sport achieved a lot, but noted that there is always room for improvement. He also made a plea to those members who would be casting their ballots.
“Just support me because you see it’s progress; you know whenever I’m there it’s progress and moving the club forward. The local people (competitors) have always been my number one and I always believe in growing the home turf first,” Boodhoo stressed.
Earlier this week, businessman Rameez Mohamed took to social media to share his vision for the sport, should he be elected to serve in the president’s post.
His list of candidates includes Hansraj Singh (Vice-president), Azim Jaffar (Secretary), Rupee Shewjattan (Treasurer), John Bennett (Assistant Secretary/Treasurer), Sunil Persaud (Club Captain), Brian Ten Pow (Technical Advisor) and Committee Members Mark Vieira, Joel Evans, Kamal Seebarran, Paul Jewanram and Azaad Hassan. Mohamed has revealed a 10-point plan for the growth and development of the sport.
They include the development of infrastructure for a drag racing strip; membership benefits for drag racers; the expansion of participation both nationally and internationally; the upgrade of existing facilities; a functioning website for the club; formation of a marketing team to promote the sport; and the promotion of fairness in the application of racing rules.
The other presidential candidate is Mohamed Roshandin, who heads a team that comprises Jad Rahaman (Vice-president), Sunil Persaud (Club Captain), Graham Ali (Treasurer), Malcolm Harripaul (Secretary), Bruce Pestano (Assistant Secretary), Brian Tenpow (Technical Advisor) and Committee Members Marcel Proffit, Carlos Rodrigues, Paul Fraser, Wayne Vieira and Johnny Carpenter.
Among Roshandin’s plans are the refurbishing of the access road to the South Dakota Circuit, covering of the stands and the addition of more washroom facilities.
Apart from working to make racers, spectators and sponsors happy, Roshandin also believes in developing the local events, and creating a more vibrant social media presence for the sport, thereby marketing Guyana’s motor-racing product internationally.
Developing the current infrastructure is also a key area for Roshandin, who previously served as Vice-president of the GMR&SC.
“We have affiliation with the FIA and they have presented us with a new track design, which will be executed in 2017. With this we will incorporate a drag race strip into the design, hence creating new avenues for a Caribbean drag racing championship at least once a year in Guyana. With an international track and media, we will gain popularity on the international scene and this will help to move the sport forward and increase tourism so motor-racing can help support our economy,” Roshandin reasoned.
Roshandin also believes there is a lot of more that can be derived from the sport, and should he be elected to serve, he will be working assiduously to ensure that no effort is spared in promoting and expanding motor-racing.
“My team’s effort and energy will be to promote and explore all the avenues to make motor-racing in Guyana the number one sport in the Caribbean. Apart from structural development, my team will be having events for members of the club to build our unity, as well as (hold) fundraisers and (reach out to) sponsors to support our touring teams,” Roshandin divulged.
The Annual General Meeting and elections will start at 19:00h at the GMR&SC headquarters at Albert Street and Thomas Lands in Georgetown. Voting will be done by secret ballot.