I am a relatively young man, as is the majority of the Guyanese population. Sport runs in my blood, some more so than others. Cricket is a part of my culture, a part of my heritage and a part of my being. As much as I am critical of West Indies cricket, I find great joy and happiness in those briefest of moments of success. For me and many others, Cricket is what makes us West Indian, makes us one, brings us together and unites us.
I have noticed two recent events which have great significance for myself and the entire cricketing fraternity. The first is the election of the newest members of the executive of the Guyana Cricket Board. This is an election long overdue and such a travesty should never be allowed to recur. Ten years to have a democratic election is a failure as a people, as an organization and as a nation. Guyana is well known for its examples of failed politics and failed leaders, why must we bring this into sports? The most recent election has still proven that not everything is well with our local cricket. The fact than an entire county and its representatives did not present themselves for elections, whatever the reason, speaks a lot.
Elections are won by the popular vote and not in courtrooms. I am hoping that there is no litigation coming out from the most recent results of these elections. I hereby would personally like to extend the warmest of congratulations to the team of Mr. Bissoondyal Singh, Mr. Hilbert Foster, Mr. Ramnaresh Sarwan et al. I hope that you put Guyana and its youth first and foremost. I hope that with new management, we will be seeing more cricket, and cricket of a higher calibre.
On a more sombre note, there was supposed to be another election. An election of similar or even more importance. Cricket West Indies was supposed to have their biennial meeting to elect the new executive. The current leadership was/is being challenged by others for the
position. Strangely enough, the two associations from where the challengers came (Guyana and Barbados) chose to not attend the meeting resulting in CWI not having a quorum for their meeting. This is a scenario that is almost unheard of. “The hijacking of CWI” is what it is being referred to on social media.
Strangely enough, the persons challenging for the leadership position of CWI are some of the leaders of the most recent Guyana Cricket Board, a board that did not hold any elections for close to a decade. If this is not a clear example of what the future may hold, I shudder to think differently.
My million-dollar question is the following. Who is really running the GCB? Is it one man or is it an executive? The scathing backlash that we are currently facing because of our decision to not partake in the meeting of the CWI is unjust for all Guyanese. We are unjustly painted with a brush as troublemakers, as a society that does things our way, as persons with no regard for democratic norms. Sadly, our recent electoral experiences as a nation seem to have rubbed off negatively on some. How can we fix it?
If there is a silver lining, it is the fact that we have had a recent GCB Election. The majority of stakeholders appear to have given the new executive their blessing. Now it is time for President Singh to step up and take the first kick (in football terms) or to face the red cherry. His first act as president should be to rescind the term of our current representatives on CWI and through a transparent process appoint persons who will represent us as a nation and an association. The GCB’s representatives on CWI should reflect the views of the nation borne through a consultative process with the entire country. The next scheduled meeting of CWI should see new representatives from the GCB. These representatives should then use their votes wisely to appoint/elect the best possible candidates to take CWI forward. West Indies cricket needs unity. We cannot have persons/boards pulling in all different directions. If the election process is democratic, then a transparent election will give us the best candidate to lead us for the next two years. Guyana must be allowed to play its part in moving West Indies cricket forward. We all have a part to play. Let us do it together. One West Indies. One Caribbean.
Dr. Mark France.