GCB is illegal, says Minister Norton

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Dr George Norton

… Appointment of new Cricket Ombudsman still in process

POLITICS over the years has played a negative role in Guyana’s cricket. The personal rivalries and nepotism, to name a few factors, have marred the game in the past, and with the country’s Sport Minister Dr George Norton, confirming that the present Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) is illegal, the end of the cricket saga could definitely bring some fresh air.
Dr Norton is of the opinion that the life of the present members of the GCB has long expired, based on the Cricket Administration Act 2014, and as such, the appointment of the Cricket Ombudsman will pave the way for a properly constituted board, truly representative of the real stakeholders of Guyana’s cricket.

This has been the first time that the new administration has strongly spoken out against the so-called GCB, which has sharply divided the administration of cricket in the country.

“As far as the Cricket Administration Act 2014 is concerned, we don’t have a Guyana Cricket Board (GCB), because that first election never took place, and that first election was to create a Guyana Cricket Board, so this Guyana Cricket Board (the Anand Sanasie cricket board) is illegal, because they were appointed for a certain time, and that time has passed by years, so this Ombudsman is to create that cricket board after, of course, verifying the legitimacy of the clubs in the various counties,” Dr Norton reckoned.
Minister Norton’s comments came after Chronicle Sport sought some clarity on the way forward regarding the legitimacy of the appointment of the Cricket Ombudsman.

During the exclusive interview, the Minister reaffirmed his stance concerning the appointment of a Cricket Ombudsman saying that such appointment is still within his remit.
To this end, the minister is seeking legal guidance from the Attorney-General Chambers.

“The Guyana Cricket Administration Act was passed and assented to in 2014, as a result of that the minister then appointed the Cricket Ombudsman. He appointed the Ombudsman with specific duties, and during his term in office (the Ombudsman), an injunction prevented him from doing much during the period, and subsequently he resigned, and as such, he did not complete his job which he was appointed to do.

Anand Sanasie

“Yes, the minister appointed the Ombudsman, and should not appoint another Ombudsman, but that Ombudsman did not do his duties, and one of the arguments the GCB used against Minister Anthony (Frank) at that time was that no meaningful consultations were done with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) now Cricket West Indies (CWI), so when I took over, I found out that the Ombudsman did not perform his duties,” Minister Norton informed.

The minister went on to explain, “I reason that, it’s in my remit to appoint an Ombudsman that will do that first meeting, so I wrote to CWI (Mr Dave Cameron), telling him of my intentions because we want meaningful consultations.

“I did this to establish a paper trail. They did acknowledge the letters, and then they (Cricket West Indies), subsequently wrote and said, according to the so-called GCB the minister had already appointed a Cricket Ombudsman, and as such the GCB will appoint an Ombudsman at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Guyana Cricket Board.

In fact Mr Sanasie did write me on the same day they had the Extraordinary Meeting, so they did inform me but at that point in time, that was water under the bridge,” the minister pointed out.

Two Thursdays ago, the GCB held an Extraordinary Meeting and appointed its own Cricket Ombudsman, Attorney-at-Law Stephen Lewis, but Minister Norton is of the view that the Extraordinary Meeting was called by a cricket board that was not established because of a proper appointed Ombudsman.

However, the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB), quickly filed two actions in court; challenging the legality of Lewis’ appointment, seeking to prevent him from functioning in the capacity of Cricket Ombudsman.

Subsequently on Tuesday, the courts granted the BCB request against Lewis, preventing him from carrying out the functions of the Cricket Ombudsman.

This new development has again put the manner in which cricket is administered in Guyana into further dismay, since many observers have maintained that GCB has not had a proper constituted or what many have labelled “free and fair” elections for the past ten years.
Meanwhile, Dr Norton maintained that the current administration remains firm to bring a swift resolution to the current situation.

He noted that communication with all the stakeholders can be seen as a significant step towards the appointment of the Ombudsman.