Hockey Board in the process of incorporating

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By Avenash Ramzan

In order to have the lease to the plot of land given by government last year, the Guyana Hockey Board (GHB) must be incorporated, says president Philip Fernandes.

Fernandes, in an exclusive interview with News Room recently, said they are in the process of getting that done before making another step in realising that much-needed home for hockey.

In February 2019, the GHB and the Guyana Football Federation signed Memoranda of Understanding with the government of Guyana, paving the way for the construction of artificial surfaces for the two sport disciplines on plots of land, west of the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, Homestretch Avenue, Georgetown.

Fernandes, giving an update on progress with the project, said: “We had sought advise on the matter of the facility because we were told that we would need to incorporate the Guyana Hockey Board in order to sign a lease with the government for that land. So what we have right now is an MoU in place between the Guyana Hockey Board and government.”

GHB president Philip Fernandes

“We cannot sign the lease unless we’re incorporated, so we’re in the process of incorporating. We did take a while because we wanted to make sure it was the right avenue. We didn’t want to run in and make a major change and it would adversely affect us, so we’re at the stage where we plan to incorporate the Guyana Hockey Board.”

Fernandes added that a comprehensive proposal has also been developed and that will be shared with the international hockey community and “some potential local sponsors because such a facility is very costly.”

Unbelievable moment

Moments after signing the MoU in February 2019 in the presence of the then Minister of State Joseph Harmon and Director of Sport Christopher Jones, Fernandes expressed elation to be part of such a development, as executives have made repeated public calls for close to two decades for land to be made available.

“This is an unbelievable moment for our sport, for hockey. It has been so long we’ve trying to get space to have a facility for hockey and a home for hockey in the city. For me personally, it has been at least 18 years that I’ve been trying with the various authorities to get some acknowledgement. So this is an important moment for us and we’re very appreciative of the government for recognising this need and making it a priority,” Fernandes commented.

Flashback! GHB President Philip Fernandes (left) and the then Minister of State Joseph Harmon pose for a photo after the MoU signing in 2019

The Hockey boss spoke of a real opportunity to move the sport forward, as it will bring Guyana on par with the rest of the world, in terms of the modern surface that is used for training and competition.

“So this opportunity here now, which we hope to develop into full international standard artificial surface facility, would enable our young people not only to train on the kind of conditions that we compete, but also to invite foreign teams for the first time in over 30 years to Guyana to compete in outdoor hockey tournaments,” Fernandes explained.

Fernandes reasoned that the facility when completed will serve to expand the sport to young people who currently do not have access, since hockey is restricted to a few cricket clubs.

He also envisaged that the quality of players produced by Guyana would be significantly improved.

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