Cricket board chief resigns after police raids

The president of Guyana’s embattled cricket board (GCB) resigned his post Tuesday after court marshals and police invaded his home, office as well as the residences and offices of several other top officials to seize financial and other documents in an escalating feud with government over alleged corruption and maladministration of the game in the former British colony.

Ramsay Alli said that “sustained pressure from government in the last nine months” had taken a toll on his job as director of a private company and on his family, forcing him to resign with immediate effect as head of the country’s governing cricket.

Government through the sports ministry late last year said it was taking the unprecedented step of dismantling the elected board and replacing it with an Interim Management Committee (IMC) headed by former Guyana and West Indies Captain Clive Lloyd but international governing bodies have stoutly resisted, threatening to ban Guyana from participation in international games. The board’s head office was also searched and documents and computers removed.

Earlier this month in fact, the Antigua-based (WICB) cancelled plans for Australia to play a test math in Guyana in April and moved the Guyana national team to a new base in Dominica to play matches in the ongoing annual regional tournament. It also threatened to scrub all of Guyana’s international matches from its calendar next year contending that the GCB is the elected board and politicians have no place in normal sports administration.

Alli told the AP early Tuesday that court marshals accompanied by police had searched his workplace office and home, as well as those of his board secretary Anand Senasee, past president and trustee Chetram Singh as well as fellow trustee Lionel Jaikarran to remove documents showing that “we are still functioning as the elected board.”

That action, he said forced directors at his company to demand he quit cricket administration and concentrate on daily company duties. He also said that “my wife was pretty upset with police going to search our home. That it is, that is enough,” he said.

Authorities had also padlocked the board’s office at the Bourda Cricket Ground to lock out officials but had removed them when the board went to court.

Opposition parties and civic groups have widely condemned the attempt by government to take over cricket but have done little by way of protests to up the ante.

Assistant Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud confirmed the raids, saying that “police were there only to ensure peace was kept. We had no other major role.”

Authorities say board members are corrupt and have brought the game to its lowest ebb in decades through infighting and petty squabbling.