HISTORIC: Guyanese elected to serve on World Chess Body Ethics Commission

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By Avenash Ramzan

Attorney-at-Law and Vice-president of the Guyana Chess Federation (GCF), Yolander Persaud, created history this week by becoming the first Guyanese to be elected to serve on any FIDE Commission.

FIDE is the world governing body for Chess, and during its 89th Congress in Batumi, the General Assembly elected Persaud as one of five members to serve on the Ethics Commission for the period 2018 to 2022.

Persaud is joined on the Commission by Francois Strydom, a well-known South African lawyer; Ruth Harring from the USA, Rajesh Joshi of Nepal and a delegate from India.

“It is the first time a Guyanese has been given the honour to serve on any FIDE Commission (and a woman at that)!! Thank you to the Federations which supported my nomination,” Persaud said in a social media post on Friday.

Persaud, a FIDE accredited Arbiter and national player, deemed the achievement “fantastic news”, adding that she’s elated to bring recognition to her country and federation.

Persaud was initially selected by the GCF to represent Guyana’s female team at the Olympiad in Batumi, but had to withdraw after receiving her Chevening Scholarship, which limited her appearance at the 11-round event.

Attorney-at-Law Yolander Persaud with Guyana Chess Federation president James Bond

She told News Room on Friday: “The allure of the Olympiad was too hard to resist, however, and I decided to attend Congress and General Assembly for one week instead, as the Councillor to our Delegate.”

“I observed the Ethics Commission, Development Commission and Online Commission during my time there and attended the first day of General Assembly where the 185-member federations elected a new President for FIDE, Mr. Arkady Dvorkovich.”

Persaud related that the work of the Ethics Commission was most appealing to her, given her background in law. “…it was of a highly legal nature,” she pointed out.

The Ethics Commission of FIDE essentially hears complaints from member federations on procedural and ethical issues and makes decisions upon the matters brought before it. There are two commissions which must be elected by the General Assembly: Ethics and Constitutional, both consisting of a five-member team.

Persaud made the nod to the Commission from a field of 15 nominations.

“This is an incredible achievement for Guyana. We have never been appointed to any of FIDE’s commissions in the past, much less one of the most vital ones. I am still in a bit of shock, but really I am elated to put my country and federation on the map, and to act in a position which blends my passion for chess and law,” Persaud highlighted.

She continued, “I am hopeful that my appointment encourages more females to take a more active role in Chess and sports in general, not only to play and participate, but to actively pursue leadership roles. That is the only way we can achieve equality and balance.”

Persaud is also a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist, Professionally Accredited Corporate Secretary, Corporate Legal Advisor and Founding Director and Secretary of the American Chamber of Commerce Guyana.

She is currently based in Scotland, pursuing a Masters in Oil and Gas Law with Professional Skills at the University of Aberdeen.

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