Foster replaced as CWI Director; Berbice Board expresses ‘shock and disgust’
Popular local cricket administrator and Vice-president of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Hilbert Foster has been replaced as Cricket West Indies (CWI) Director, the GCB announced in a press release on Saturday, citing “a traditional practice that seeks to alternate director selection.”
But, while the GCB has “elected” Essequibo Cricket Board President Deleep Singh as the replacement on the regional board, the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB), of which Foster is President, has expressed “shock and disgust” at the decision of the local governing body.
“Mr. Singh’s election to the position of CWI Director is in keeping with a traditional practice that seeks to alternate director selection,” the GCB said in its press statement.
However, the release went on to state: “The amendment to facilitate the alternating of directors was approved at a Special General Meeting of the Guyana Cricket Board held on March 06, 2022.”
This meeting, the GCB highlighted in its release, was convened for two specific purposes: “proposed amendments to the constitution and the submission and ratification of Audited Financial reports of the County Boards.”
“The report from the Berbice Cricket Board however, created much debate as the figures presented could not stand up to scrutiny. The meeting decided that in the interest of transparency and accountability and in keeping with the Guyana Cricket Administration Act 2014 that the financial report of the Berbice Cricket Board be subjected to a forensic audit,” the GCB added.
“This decision was taken despite the explanations given by the Berbice Cricket Board President, Hilbert Foster and which were deemed unacceptable.”
The GCB claimed that the BCB subsequently wrote the local governing board, requesting a withdrawal of its audited financial report.
The other serving CWI director from Guyana is President of the GCB, Bissoondyal Singh.
‘Shock and disgust’
However, the BCB, in a subsequent press release on Saturday, noted its “shock and disgust” at the press statement from the GCB announcing the change in CWI directorship.
“The Berbice Cricket Board has kept it silence over the last few months, despite being targeted by elements in the Board since the recent elections in Essequibo,” the BCB stated.
That Essequibo Cricket Board election was held on January 9, 2022, when Charity businessman Singh was unanimously elected as President.
The BCB said it has submitted audited financial statement for 2018, 2019 and 2020 “by a highly respected auditor and we have received full clearance in all three reports.”
“The 2020 audited report had one page of correction, which concerns the incorrect names of our executives for the period under review. The auditor has since corrected the mistake,” the BCB pointed out.
“At the last GCB meeting, our Treasurer was unable to answer a question about a $30,000 receivable because he did not have the necessary information on hand. The simple answer is that the contractor for the repair of our office had not completed the work at the time of the report being submitted. The work was done shortly after the start of our new financial year.”
The BCB added: “The BCB would also like to state that our President never attempted to explain anything about the statements, as that was done by our Treasurer Dr. Cecil Beharry and his deputy Rovin Bahadur. The BCB is therefore totally shocked by this statement, along with the press release since this discussion took place over three weeks ago.”
‘Proud of my contribution’
Meanwhile, Foster, in a post on his personal Facebook page on Saturday, stated: “It is with a contended and pleasant heart that I inform the Guyanese cricketing public that I would no longer be representing our beloved country as a director on Cricket West Indies.”
“I did so for a period of eleven months to the best of my abilities and I’m very proud of my contribution to West Indies cricket. I would like to express thanks to my colleagues at the GCB for their confidence in selecting me in 2021 to serve in that capacity.”
He added: “I have also taken the position that I would be leaving cricket administration at the national level and would be solely focusing on the development of Berbice cricket for the rest of my third and most likely final term, which ends in December 2023.I have dedicated my entire life to serving others and the time might have come to look after me and my family.”
Noting that cricket is too important to fail, Foster wished his “former colleagues” all success and reassured them of his continued support.
“Those of us who are lucky to serve at a high level must do so to the best of our abilities. I would also like to express thanks to everyone who played a part in supporting me and even to those who might have wronged me- there is no bitterness,” Foster said.
“Berbice cricket over the next two years would have my full focus and would see massive developments,” he added.
The new Director
The GCB said Singh, who hails from Charity, is a popular and respected businessman, who previously served as President of the Essequibo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Essequibo Technical Institute and as Vice-President of the Guyana Coconut Growers Association.
“Mr. Singh’s impressive profile includes serving in prominent positions in religious educational and social organisations, including the Sanatan Dharm Par Upkaaric Sabha, Shri Sookdeojie Ashram, Charity Development Committee and Guyana School of Agriculture where earlier as a student he earned a diploma with distinction,” the GCB highlighted.
“A graduate of the Lousianna State University (USA), Mr. Singh is presently the proprietor of WD’S Hotel & Mall at Charity. In addition, he is a large scale coconut, cattle and rice farmer as well as a licensed gold miner.”
“On the cricket front Mr. Singh played club cricket in Essequibo for a numbers of years and in fact founded and was chairman of both the Enterprise Cricket Club in Pomeroon and also Pomeroon Cricket Committee. From 2002 to 2004, he served as Vice-President of the Essequibo Cricket Board and now as the incumbent President of that Board, he is automatically an Executive Member of the Guyana Cricket Board.”