Chaos and disorder loomed large for the game of cricket in Guyana this week as government seemed determined to arbitrarily move aside the elected governing board, replace it with its own political appointees and take over operations generally but if the Antigua-based West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has its way, Guyanese won’t see an international match for months or years to come.
Since December, Guyana authorities had made no secret of their intentions to take over managenent of the game, even asking cricket superhero Clive Lloyd — the former Guyana and West Indies captain, to fly home and accept the position of chairman of an Interim Management Committee (IMC) that would replace the board and take over the sport until government determines if and when to return administration of the sport to elected bodies.
But given events in recent weeks, no one will be surprised if Lloyd who has made it plain that he is back home because he cares about and wants to help a nation that gave him everything, packs up and leaves quietly out of frustration over the worsening situation that peaked during the past week.
First, government padlocked the offices of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) for weeks until executives mustered the gumption to counterpunch by winning a High Court ruling ordering removal of the locks.
For the cricket governors at WICB headquarterts in Antigua, such moves by government were way out of order and deserved punishment.
By the end of last week, the WICB had let it be known worldwide that Guyana was off the list of countries and territories where matches previouisly sanctioned by it would be played, including the Dubai-based International Cricket Council (ICC).
It moved the scheduled third test between Australia and the West Indies in April at the Guyana National Stadium to Dominica, which has in recent years upgraded its facilities as an option for international games sponsored by the WICB.
Hours before such a move, it became clear that authorities thought that the WICB was bluffing, saying that “no threats” to move matches from Guyana will stop the takeover of cricket by the IMC. They appeared to have been caught off guard by the announcement.
Government also apparently had not paid heed to a big hint from Antigua late in January, when all of its team’s matches in the four-day regional competition that started across the West Indies last week, were also moved to Dominica, where the local team is now based.
From all indications, government will look bad if it backs out now, so Guyanese are bracing for more fallout from the current mess.