GCB accuses Sport Minister of political interference

– releases video of damage to pitch square at National Stadium

Facing allegations of dispensing inaccurate information, the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) has sought to set the record straight concerning the condition of the pitch at the National Stadium at Providence, and its legitimacy as the body administering the affairs of cricket in Guyana.
Over the past few days, an issue has arisen in the sport fraternity in Guyana. That issue, which has taken the Guyanese sporting population by storm, is the hosting of football at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence, which was claimed to have damaged the pitch.
The following is a full statement from the GCB:
The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) has a mandate to organise, promote and manage the development and operations of cricket in Guyana. This includes ensuring that proper facilities are used in accordance with prescribed standards for regional and international cricket.
These standards also guide our decisions in selecting facilities for domestic matches, as well as for directing the construct of our facility upgrade initiatives. This direction is evident by the enormous investment in time and money spent at the LBI facility. Such degree of investment serves to reiterate the significance of stipulated standards for the hosting of professional cricket activities and the use of pathway exercises that are required by players to attain levels of professionalism.
Therefore, it would be error to underscore the significance of obtaining and/or mandating that required standards of facilities be upheld. It must be acknowledged that the GCB has consistently objected to various aspects of the Cricket Administration Act based on strong and valid arguments.
As a consequence, the GCB finds it disheartening that there once again appear to be political interference in the administration of cricket in Guyana, all be it that this time the interference seems to be ignited by Minister Charles Ramson Jr.
Nevertheless, it must be recognized that the GCB’s challenge to the Cricket Administration Act remains to be heard. The GCB vehemently believes that once the same challenge is heard, the GCB presented arguments will be unabatedly upheld. This apart, the GCB does not wish to comment at this time on particulars relating to the court matters, since such matters are sub judice.
Further, with relevance to the current nature of the pitch square at the National Stadium, Providence, the GCB wrote to the management of the facility seeking the use of the ground for the preparation of the Guyana Jaguars squad, for the Regional Super 50- tournament which is scheduled for February 2021.
The request for its use for preparation activities for this facility was geared at match simulations, and having been familiar with the type of surfaces offered therein, it was felt that the pitch square at the National Stadium, Providence would provide the Guyana Jaguars with adequate preparation for their regional encounter.
However, the GCB was informed by the management of the Stadium of damage to the pitch square, and subsequently visited the same facility to observe the informed damages. As a consequence, the GCB is in possession of a video depicting the severity of the damage to aspects of the pitch square on the day of our visit.
Additionally, it must be noted that at no time did the GCB issue a press release, as stated by Minister Ramson, on the nature of the pitch square subsequent to the football matches that were recently played at the Guyana National Stadium.
In fact, the secretary of the GCB, in an invited comment from media sources, stated a position that is universally recognized with reference to international facility maintenance and management, and in this case with its applicability to the pitch square.
It must also be stated, that when Minister Charles Ramson Jr. took office, he summons the GCB to a meeting of which all the executive members attended with the exception of three such members. The meeting appeared to have projected the necessity for camaraderie and a unified trust in delivering the cricket goals and objectives for the country.
However, noticeably the Minister sought to utilize his office to facilitate approval of cricket in Guyana, a role and function normally undertaken by the GCB in fulfilling its mandate to organize, develop, promote and manage cricket in Guyana.
Consequentially, the GCB objected to this approach which apparently sought to subdue the power and authority that is conferred on the GCB. Here again, the GCB reiterate its position that the Cricket Administration Act needs to be revisited to clearly avoid government interference and other controversial clauses.
As a result, due to the unavailability of the Stadium, the GCB will now be forced to play their three (3) pre-tournament practice matches at the LBI facility on Monday January 18, 2021, Thursday January 21, and Saturday January 23, 2021.