GCB President outlines plan to drive development

- Touts collective approach and inclusivity; School Cricket a priority - Promises no witch-hunting

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By Akeem Greene

Newly-elected President of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB), Bissoondyal Singh, has one motive- to move Guyana’s cricket forward and to do so with a collective approach which harbours no vindictiveness.

In such an endeavour, Singh wants to put behind the embattled history of the board in recent years, and work with all vested stakeholders, who share the common interest of developing the sport.

Singh, who was at the forefront of the calls for legitimate GCB elections, was elected to the top post unopposed on Monday.

He leads a team that includes Hilbert Foster (Vice-President), Rabindranauth Saywack (Vice-President), Ronald Williams (Secretary), Davteerth Anandjit (Assistant Secretary), Pretipaul Jaigobin (Treasurer), Dr. Cecil Beharry (Assistant Treasurer), Claude Raphael (Public Relations Officer), Mohamed Baksh (Marketing Manager), Shaun Massiah (Chairman of Competitions Committee), Ramnaresh Sarwan (Chairman of Senior Selectors), and Andre Percival (Chairman of Junior Selectors).

There are also two Technocrat members with voting rights at executive meetings– Roger Harper and Anil Beharry.

Happy to serve 

Speaking to News Room Sport shortly after the election, Singh candidly stated: “It was not easy. It was a battle and finally legality, transparency and to some extent decency prevailed.”

“I am happy to serve the people of Guyana; it is a privilege, if not an honour. I have not been elected to govern anyone, this is a collective [effort] and not only in my Executive, but the people of Guyana as a whole. As I said before, I crave the indulgence of corporate Guyana, His Excellency Dr. Irfaan Ali, his Ministers, the Trade Unions and especially Guyana Teachers Union and the Ministry of Education.”

School Cricket, in particular, is one area of “immediate” attention for the new Executive as they seek to create a structure from Inter-house, Inter-school and Inter-zone which leads into the club system.

Notably, the Essequibo Cricket Board (ECB), which is headed by the former GCB president Fizul Bacchus, did not attend the elections.

While extending condolences to the Bacchus on the recent passing of his wife, Singh indicated they will look to engage the ECB head in discussions about moving the sport forward.

“We will sit with him [Fizul Bacchus]; we will examine all that we can do to bring Essequibo to the table. Going forward, I don’t see anyone as an enemy, what happened in the past, is just the past. It will be registered in the history books for the purpose of history and not for our use because we don’t have use for the past.”

The businessman added, “Our board will not be confrontational, we don’t wish to engage in controversies, but that of conversations so they will be programmes, policies and progress.”

President Bissoondyal Singh (seated centre) with some of the other members of the new executive

Dynamic Team

Singh, who also heads the East Coast Cricket Board and the Demerara Cricket Board, said the new GCB Executive is one the country has never seen before and it will transform the national structure.

Harper is the Advisor on Cricket Development and Beharry is an advisor on Corporate Governance, Financing and Marketing.

“I don’t think they ever had a composition of people like this ever in the history of Guyana’s cricket. You have a guy like Hilbert Foster being the chairman of the Cricket Development Committee and an Advisor like Roger Harper and then we are going to put more technical people in that committee and the Executive which is the administrative aspect of the board will give directives as to what we want as short term and long term goals.”

The Chairman of Selectors will be complemented by the three County Board’s Chairman of Selectors and the coach will be appointed in advance.

“The coach and the team leader, which is an independent person in the case of Ramnaresh Sarwan or in the other case Andre Percival, will listen to the three chairpersons of the county so the situation of insularity will not be an issue.”

No witch hunting

For those currently employed by the GCB, the new President indicated they will assess their competency, but was clear no one would be dismissed without due cause.

“We are not going to be involved in personalities and controversies. If the people employed are competent people and they can deliver on our slate, and what our aims and objectives are then we see no problem but if we need to add or compliment to that staff or we may need to replace, obviously, that would be a performance audit by the board itself.”

He added, “I don’t want any staff to believe that there is going to be any witch-hunting or just arbitrarily sending home people, that is not our position at this time.”

Guyanese Anand Sanasie (left) is challening the incumbent Ricky Skerritt for the top post

CWI Presidential race

On Sunday, Cricket West Indies (CWI) was scheduled to have its Annual General Meeting and Election of Office Bearers, but the absence of the Guyana Cricket Board and the Barbados Cricket Association, for varying reasons, prevented the required quorum.

All the other territorial boards were in attendance. Those boards have also publicly stated their support for the incumbent president Ricky Skerritt and Vice-President, Dr. Kishore Shallow.

Former long-standing Secretary of the GCB and CWI Director, Anand Sanasie, is challenging Skerritt for CWI Presidency.

Singh was questioned on the stance this new GCB would take with regards to potential support or non-support of the Guyanese candidate and ensuring the GCB attend the adjourned AGM on April 11.

The previous GCB and the BCA have pledged support for the Sanasie/Calvin Hope ticket.

“What I know is what I get from the press and sometimes you get conflicting reports from different news agencies. I am not sure what is the current situation as it relates to why they did not attend and what may need to remedy the situation, but I will tell you that our board when it comes to national patriotism, we are very much close to that. So if somebody from Guyana, they are interested [in CWI Presidency], I personally won’t see a problem.”

He added, “That [support or non-support] is strictly a board decision but as I said our board is not one which is singular in our decisions, we are very open when it comes to national issues and if it is a case that we will have to give consideration when it comes to a national issue, we must consider it.”

“As I said before, we don’t have enemies, we don’t want enemies and if they are people who perceive us as enemies, sorry we are friends, and let us work, we have to fix this thing. We don’t have all the ideas and I don’t care where you come from, if you are going to offer something of substance and it drives the national structure and it can help develop our great land, that is where is where are going, we have no issues with personalities.”

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