WICB rejects Guyana Gov’t proposed legislation for GCB


President of the West Indies Cricket Board Inc, Dr. Julian R. Hunte, has responded to the draft Guyana Cricket Administration Bill, as well as the amendments to the constitution of the Guyana Cricket Board, as proposed by the Government/IMC.
On behalf of the WICB he rejected in very strong language the proposals in the legislation that seek to make alterations to the current constitution and structure of the existing Guyana Cricket Board. It also seeks to disband the present entity.


Having reviewed the draft proposed …the WICB said on the Proposed Guyana Cricket Administration Bill 2012, that, "With respect to the proposed legislation, it is not our intention to do a clause by clause review or ‘mark-up’ of the draft, but to make a few broad observations as follows:
(i) We respectfully disagree with the view expressed in your letter that "this legislation is similar to legislation that was implemented in Trinidad and Tobago". We have reviewed the Trinidad & Tobago Act (No. 34 of 1989), the sole purpose of which is to provide for the incorporation of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board of Control (which was already in existence) and for matters incidental thereto (such as the administrative requirements which would accompany incorporation and include a broad outline of the aims and objects of the Cricket Board and the powers which it may exercise)."

In what is seen as moves to disband the current board, the draft legislation states in Article 6: "The entity, institution, body or collection of persons formerly known as the Guyana Cricket Board shall from the date of commencement of this Act cease to exist."

It continued in Article 7: "There shall stand established from the date of commencement of this Act a body known at the Guyana Cricket Board to perform the functions conferred on it by or under this Act."
The WICB responded, "By contrast (to the Trinidad and Tobago legislation) the proposed Guyana legislation seeks to dissolve the existing bodies and establish new bodies, rather than recognising and legitimising the structure which already exists, and has existed in its current form, at least since 1968.

"As we have stated to you in prior correspondence, the WICB cannot accept the dissolution of the recognised GCB. While we are not opposed to any Government investigating the affairs of a Member Board in order to ascertain whether any criminal offence has been committed, or contravention of any relevant legislation, we believe that the dissolution of a Board is not in keeping with the spirit of ensuring the independence of cricket administration and avoiding governmental interference."

"Pending the conclusion of the ongoing legal matters, we must also reserve our position specifically in respect of the shares in the West Indies Cricket Board which were issued and belong to the Guyana Cricket Board", the letter stated.
The proposed constitution also seeks to give the Sports Minister significant power in determining the operations of the GCB.
Article 10 of the draft legislation states: "The organisational meeting shall be held on such date as the Minister may appoint by statutory instrument."
It further informs that the two factions of the Demerara Cricket Board remain and be allowed five delegates each to attend meetings with nine each from Berbice and Essequibo.
In response, the WICB response notes; (ii) "Also in contrast to the Trinidad & Tobago legislation, the proposed Guyana legislation seeks to bestow significant authority and oversight powers on the Minister charged with responsibility for sports, in our view, to the detriment of the independent functioning of the Guyana Cricket Board and contrary even to your proposed amendments to the Constitution.
"While we appreciate that there must be a working relationship between the Cricket Board and the Government for the efficient administration of cricket in the country, the proposed legislation goes considerably beyond what we would consider appropriate, by mandating what is effectively a reporting relationship between the Board and the Minister."

"In light of the above, we must express our disappointment with the proposed legislation and would hope that you would consider further review and consultation on its contents," the letter stated.
The WICB went on to point out, "…while we would not presume to impose our views on drafting, construction or constitutional rules of procedure which you believe would be most appropriate, there are a few issues which we believe are of sufficient importance that we should highlight for your consideration:

1. Implementation/Adoption of Constitution
"While we acknowledge the inclusion of your Article 24, which recognises the process by which the Constitution may be amended or repealed (a provision existing in the current constitution), we note that you have not outlined the process by which the proposed amendments will be adopted, nor have you recognised in your proposed document that it will itself be the product of a resolution taken at a General Meeting.
"Especially in light of our comments on the proposed Bill above, we trust that the Government is not seeking to impose a Constitution on the Guyana Cricket Board through legislation, rather than following the established constitutional process.
"We are however encouraged by the assurance in your letter to me (November 12, 2012) that you would like to arrange a meeting through CARICOM to discuss how to bring the constitution into being, and also make arrangements for elections under the constitution and accordingly await further information on this meeting.

2. Functions of the Officers of the Board, Trustee/Appointment of Chief Executive Officer and Staff
"While your proposed amendments recognise and identify the persons who should be appointed to the Executive Committee, it does not anywhere seek to set out the roles and responsibilities of those persons – a deficiency which we recognise exists in the current Constitution and which we believe should certainly be addressed.
"Further, your Constitution provides only for the exercise of power at the Executive level and does not recognise the need for an administrative corps, i.e. a Chief Executive Officer and staff, who would be responsible for execution of the day to day activities of the Cricket Board. This is in our view a significant requirement for the establishment of good governance practices.

3. Representation at West Indies Cricket Board
"Also in keeping with good governance practices, we regretfully cannot accept the formulation of your proposed Article 17, which mandates that the GCB – appointed Directors on the West Indies Cricket Board should act as delegates of Guyana and not as Directors of the Board. Such a position is, in our view, completely contrary to the basic requirements of corporate governance.
It is expected that Directors who sit on the West Indies Cricket Board will act in the best interests of West Indies Cricket as a whole, and not as representatives of or as lobbyists for any one particular Member.
"The particular interests or concerns of any Member are properly raised by such Member at a Meeting of Members, or at management level with the Secretariat staff (i.e. the WICB Chief Executive and his management team) and not at Directors’ meetings."

In an effort to a speedy resolution to the matter the WICB President stated, "…however if you or your team would like to engage in further discussion on any of the points raised, I would certainly make myself and any member(s) of our team available.
"We view the restoration of normalcy to cricket in Guyana as the highest priority and are eager to ensure that this can occur with the cooperation and in the best interests of all stakeholders."