THE Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board has stated that former national cricket captain Daren Ganga is attempting to overturn the democratic process of the organisation by advocating for the wholesale and immediate adoption of the report of an Independent Review Committee on the governance structure of the national sports organisation.
President of the TTCB, Azim Bassarath, was responding to a recent media release issued by Ganga in which he accused the TTCB, of which he is a member, of failing to hastily implement the recommendations of the IRC.
Incidentally the TTCB is to meet on Wednesday (April 25) to discuss the report and plan the way forward after concerns were raised at a recent board meeting that the IRC had breached their terms of reference in producing the contentious document.
The controversial review, conducted by Justice Vashiest Kokaram, newspaper columnist Dr Shiela Rampersad and former TTCB president Ellis Lewis, has caused consternation in local cricket.
Following its handing over to the TTCB president in late February, major stakeholders have expressed grave reservations about the recommendations with the Secondary Schools Cricket League openly stating that they are opposed to it.
Also the Trinidad and Tobago Umpires and Scorers Union has also registered its serious concerns saying that if the IRC recommendations are implemented, it could mean the demise of local cricket, and decimate the stock of experienced officials.
Many have also privately expressed shock and surprise that the IRC recommendations closely resemble the language used by Ganga and Dinanath Ramnarine, another former cricketer, in their relentless but unsuccessful battle to unseat the present cricket administration.
On Monday, TTCB president Azim Bassarath said that Ganga’s claims in his media release published in local newspapers on Monday, are palpably false, deviously calculated to mislead the unsuspecting public, and force TTCB stakeholders to withhold support of the national game.
Bassarath said that the TTCB executive cannot make any final decision on the adoption of the IRC Report, and that is is up to the entire 49-member board of which Ganga is part, as a National League representative.
“His toxic comments demonstrate a sad and disappointing lack of judgement. It is reflective of a craven desire to seize power at all costs with a reckless disregard for due process. Anyone aspiring to leadership should know better and should not hoodwink the population and circumvent established procedure,” said Bassarath.
He said the IRC Report cannot be adopted lock, stock and barrel without studied debate and discussion, at the board level when all views and considerations of the executive,affiliates and nominated members will be taken into consideration.
“Only then will a decision be taken. And Ganga will have an opportunity to contribute to this process if he is so inclined,” said Bassarath.
The TTCB president said it is worth noting that when the initial decision was made to set up the IRC, in response to concerns raised, both Ganga and Ramnarine strangely absented themselves from the meeting. Also,equally perplexing was the fact that the few National League Committee members who have formed an opposition to the present administration and were present, abstained from the vote.
Bassarath also said there was no agreement between the TTBC executive and the National League representatives on the setting up of the IRC. “So if there was an agreement, it is passing strange that they did not support the resolution to establish the IRC,” he said. “It is surprising that Ganga should now be championing the adoption of the IRC recommendations without any discussion or vote by the full membership of the board,” said Bassarath.
He also laid to rest the often repeated and false claim by Ganga that the current system of voting for the national executive ensures that the incumbents hold on to power.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. In 2005, Deryck Murray won the presidency of the TTCB by ousting the venerable Dr Alloy Lequay in national elections using the same system that is now being criticised by Ganga as being one-sided. It is not surprising that the sustained attacks on the integrity of the TTCB comes after all of their efforts to gain power have failed miserably,” said Bassarath.
He reiterated that the TTCB is not averse to implementing measures that would contribute to better governance. However the organisation is wary of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
“Pelting mud over and over again in the hope that some of it sticks is not the way to present yourself as credible of assuming leadership of cricket. You must be able to exert responsible decision-making, convince stakeholders that you are trustworthy, and present a plan to the national community that is devoid of selfish and ulterior motives,” said Bassarath.
He said that Ganga has been placed in positions where he proved unwilling or reluctant to make a significant contribution to the growth and development of the local game, opting instead to lobby for private ventures unrelated to cricket, and for foreign entities, most recently when he was at the Tourism Development Corporation.
He reminded Ganga that the TTCB has for years earned the commendation of the technocrats in the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs for its accountability and transparency.
Bassarath said that all meetings of the TTCB executive, and board have been held as scheduled, and quarterly and annual reports have been presented to the membership and the ministry in a timely manner.
He said that the TTCB executive volunteer their time and expertise as a form of national service, unlike what Ganga and his followers propose: a highly paid coterie of appointed officers to assume control of the sport.
“The present administration is undeterred by the campaign of misinformation conducted by Ganga and company in his ample free time, as he has not been considered to do any lucrative television commentary in the current Indian Premier League.
“We have an enviable track record of placing local cricketers on the world stage through innovative plans and programmes. This has made the Red Force an international brand.
“Ganga needs to recognise and acknowledge what cricket has done for him, before he continues along a path of destroying the game and the future of the young people with his poisonous diatribes aimed at breeding resentment and hatred against the TTCB,” said Bassarath.