"--IANS/CMC"
Georgetown (Guyana), June 8 (IANS/CMC) Guyana President Donald Ramotar said the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) decision to pull out the third Test match from the National Stadium in Providence is a blow to regional integration. He also rejected the assertion that his government is meddling in cricket administration here.

Alleged government interference in running of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) forced the WICB to scrap the National Stadium as the venue for the third Test against New Zealand. The June 26-30 match will now be played at Kensington Oval in Barbados.

At the centre of the decision is the Cricket Administration Bill which was passed in May in Guyana's parliament, seeking to make several changes to cricket administration in the country.

Ramotar said Saturday that cricket had historically brought the region together and therefore the decision to scrap the Providence venue was a slap against the whole integration movement. He described the WICB as arrogant and said he planned to have discussions with them over the controversial bill.

This is where I would lay the blame. I will have a discussion with them and try to see if they could bring people together to find a solution. But they want us to drop some of the things in the bill that was passed and some other preconditions. The arrogance of WICB is unbelievable. Imagine they don't invest anything in cricket, said Ramotar.

The president defended the legislation, arguing that it brought accountability and transparency to cricket administration in GCB.

He said these measures had been instituted because of accusations of corruption and election-rigging in GCB. A feature of the bill provides for the post of ombudsman who will appointed by the sports minister and oversee all elections.

It's totally untrue what is being peddled that government wants to interfere with cricket. We have enough problems on our hands than to want to get involved in cricket politics, we got bigger politics to deal with. I don't know how this bill would have given government control of cricket as some of them are trying to make out, Ramotar said.

--IANS/CMC

ss/vt


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