Appointment of Cricket Ombudsman, setting of GCB election date lawful- Sport Minister
Sport Minister Charles Ramson Jr. has maintained that his appointment of a Cricket Ombudsman and the setting of a date for the Guyana Cricket Board election is lawful, as stipulated under the Guyana Cricket Administration Act 2014.
Attorney-at-Law Kamal Ramkarran was appointed Cricket Ombudsman and the date for the Guyana Cricket Board is February 26, 2021, at Umana Yana, Kingston, Georgetown.
On Sunday (February 21, 2021), lawyers representing Guyana Cricket Board Secretary and Cricket West Indies Director, Anand Sanasie, wrote the Minister, stating that he (the Minister) was only once permitted by the said Act to appoint a Cricket Ombudsman.
The letter stated: “Your recent purported appointment by Notice of 19th February, 2021 is the third such appointment of a Cricket Ombudsman by a Minister. Your predecessors in office Dr. George Norton and Dr. Frank Anthony had done so in 2015 and 2017, respectively. Professor Winston McGowan was the first Cricket Ombudsman to have been appointed by Dr. Anthony and although he later resigned his office his appointment was never declared to be invalid. In the circumstance your appointment of Mr. Kamal Ramkarran, Attorney-at-Law as Cricket Ombudsman is unlawful and of no effect.”
The letter further questioned the period of seven days after the holding of the Demerara Cricket Board to have a Guyana Cricket Board election, noting that it “is unreasonable and does not allow the Cricket Ombudsman to carry out his statutory function of establishing and verifying a Register of Clubs before the holding of the GCB elections.”
It added, “The time frame fixed is not in accordance with the Constitution of the GCB, Schedule I of the Cricket Administration Act. The membership of the GCB has a right to and/or a legitimate expectation that a period of at least thirty (30) days would be given before the holding of any elections. Members must be allowed a reasonable period to identify delegates and contestants and to canvas support for the elections.”
Minister Ramson on Monday (February 22, 2021) acknowledged receipt of the letter and issued the following response below.
RE: APPOINTMENT OF CRICKET OMBUDSMAN & DATE FOR THE HOLDING OF GUYANA CRICKET BOARD ELECTION
Your missive dated the 21st February, 2021 is hereby acknowledged and response thereto is set out hereinafter.
While it must be stated at the outset that since the restoration of the provisions of the Guyana Cricket Administration Act 2014 and pursuant to Order of Court by Justice Fidela Corbin in Berbice Cricket Board v Fizul Bacchus et al dated 3rd April 2019 in Action number 2018-HC-DEM-CIV-FDA-1200, the capacity in which your client purports to instruct you is not recognized, paragraph two is denied and your position on the issue is incorrect as it is res judicata (see Judgement of Fidela Corbin dated 3rd April 2019 in SAYWACK V LEWIS in Action number 2018-HC-DEM-CIV-FDA-808).
The Guyana Cricket Administration Act 2014, the subject Minister is entitled, empowered, and obliged to appoint the Cricket Ombudsman and the date for the first election of the Guyana Cricket Board until completed. I fraternally take the liberty to direct your attention to paras 15, 26, and 27 of the judgment.
Paragraph three is denied and coupled with your missive attached to the duly appointed Cricket Ombudsman, Mr Ramkarran, if published, will be defamation and may result in the institution of legal proceedings at the appropriate time upon advisement.
Paragraph four and five are denied, and it would be inappropriate for you to seek to speak on behalf of the Cricket Ombudsman. You would, no doubt, recall that Justice Singh set the Demerara Cricket Board election within five (5) days and the argument, inter alia, was advanced by you to the Full Court on appeal and the appeal was dismissed. In addition, I would direct your attention to para 28 in SAYWACK V LEWIS where Justice Fidela Corbin states:
“There has been a failure by the Minister to appoint another Cricket Ombudsman in accordance with Section 17 for reasons unknown to this court. The consequence is that there continues to be turbulence in the administration of cricket which does not promote the slated aim of improving and advancing cricket. This most unfortunate state of affairs will hopefully be remedied forthwith to give effect to the Act and advance its aims and objectives.”
Paragraph six is denied and premised on incorrect information. The consultation took place with the President, Vice-President, several Directors, and three officers of Cricket West Indies including the Chief Executive Officer and the Corporate Secretary.
In the interest of appreciating a wider objective, I am professionally obliged to bring your attention that the consultation issue has also been ruled on already (see judgment by Chief Justice (ag) George-Wiltshire in Mohan Singh v Marlon Williams).
I am available for any further information or assistance.
Honourable Charles S. Ramson MP