“Berbice cricket in disarray”- Foster
By Avenash Ramzan
– Calls on government to intervene
In a passionate plea on Sunday last, Secretary/CEO of the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club (RHTY&SC), Hilbert Foster, urged the intervention of the highest office of the land to address the situation affecting Berbice and Guyana cricket.
Addressing the gathering at the RHTY&SC’s 27th annual awards ceremony, attended by Prime Minister and Acting President Moses Nagamootoo, Director of Sport Christopher Jones and Social Protection Minister Amna Ally, Foster vehemently stated that “Berbice cricket is in disarray”, a far cry from what previously obtained.
“From a high of 130 clubs in Berbice in 1995, you would struggle to find 40 today, while less than 20 have a junior nursery. Only five years ago under the leadership of the (current) Rose Hall Town Youth and Sport president (Keith Foster), Berbice cricket was the envy of the Caribbean with close to 15 tournaments per year and over 200 off the field programmes/activities per year under a wide range of sub-headings. A former president of Guyana during the 75th anniversary celebration described the Berbice Cricket Board as a role model organisation, which should be emulated,” Foster reflected.
He continued, “Today, Berbice cricket is in disarray due to the lust for power at the county and national level. People who have no vision, no capacity to manage are in charge, despite not being elected to do so. We as a country owe it to ourselves to make sure that Berbice and Guyana cricket is preserved for our next generations. We cannot afford to let the legacy of Trim, Kanhai, Butcher, Madray, Fredericks, Solomon, Kallicharran and Nagamootoo be destroyed.”
In his presentation, which was delivered in a room permeated by stone silence, Foster further proceeded to paint a bleak image of the gentleman’s game in the Ancient County.
“No cricket is being played for clubs in Berbice; no coaching or off the field activities organised; unqualified coaches are selected to coach Inter-county teams; five clubs moved an illegal motion to remove a hardworking, dedicated and honest female administrator, while unqualified umpires are used in practice and Inter-zone matches,” Foster highlighted.
He added, “Players are targeted because of their clubs. Coaches are told to leave certain clubs if they want to get coaching positions, while players are given homemade drinks and food with one piece of small chicken to survive for an entire day. Our players practice every day with no cricket in sight and clubs depend on the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club to organise tournaments.”
Switching to the national level, Foster pointed that while Guyana has won three consecutive First-Class titles, it is because of the hardwork of club officials at Georgetown Cricket Club, Demerara Cricket Club, Albion, Rose Hall Town, Everest, Tucber Park and Young Warriors, who work day in, day out to make a difference.
“Take these clubs away and Guyana’s cricket would be dead and buried,” he asserted.
“Berbice and Guyana cricket cannot go on like this, and as such, I would like to urge President David Granger, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and the government of Guyana to intervene in this situation before it is too late. The Parliament of Guyana passed a Cricket Bill and it is the law of Guyana. Unless it is overturned, all parties should respect it and the time to act is now. Mr. Prime Minister, as a Berbician and a proud uncle of one of our Test players, please assist us to save Berbice cricket. Let it be your legacy and I’m confident that every Berbician shall be proud of you,” Foster concluded to rapturous applause.
With regards the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB), an injunction was filed by two individuals a few months after the last election in December 2014, significantly limiting the work of the then Anil Beharry-led administration.
The one-year term, according to what is stipulated in the Cricket Administration Bill, of the BCB expired in December 2015, but First Vice-president D. Somwaru, reportedly purporting to be acting President of the board following the resignation of Beharry in January 2017, has since sent out letters to previously appointed members of the Executive Committee, thanking them for their services.
Meanwhile, the Guyana Cricket Administration Act was passed in the National Assembly on May 15, 2014, and assented to by the then President on August 4, 2014.
The aim of the Act is to bring about order in the administration of cricket and to improve its governance and financial accountability arrangements.
However, the Act is yet to be implemented because of the then acting Chief Justice’s ruling of April 29, 2015, that restrains the holding of elections under the Act in respect of the Guyana Cricket Board and the county boards of Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice until the hearing and determination of the substantive action.