PRESIDENT OF the TT Cricket Board (TTCB), Azim Bassarath, sees nothing wrong with his recent appearance on a political platform.
In a media release on Tuesday, former national and West Indies cricket captain and opening batsman Daren Ganga said Bassarath’s appearance on a UNC platform “has created considerable concern among this nation’s cricketers and administrators, especially as it came almost immediately after an Independent Review Committee (IRC) recommended that the board change its approach to governance to ensure a democratic, fair and transparent consistent with international best practices.”
Ganga said, “it was a matter of grave concern that the person in charge of a national sport should speak in favour of a political party at a public meeting and, in effect, compromise the neutrality of the organisation and sport for which he was responsible.”
Speaking to Newsday yesterday, Bassarath rubbished suggestions that the IRC report and him on a political platform are linked. He also scoffed at Ganga’s assertion that there might be a conflict of interest for him to serve as the head of a local sporting administration and appear on a political platform. In a telephone interview, Bassarath said, “I don’t see anything wrong with that. That wouldn’t be (any) conflict of interest.”
He added, “From 1986 to 1991, Mr Alloy Lequay was president of the Cricket Board and he was the Leader of Government Business in the Senate. Recently, Ricky Skerritt was the (Antiguan) Minister of Sport and Tourism and he was a member of the West Indies Cricket Board.
“And I’m quite clear that there would have been other sport administrators who would have been affiliated openly with political organisations in TT.”
Bassarath also mentioned Rawle Raphael, a member of the NAAA and an NAR MP, as well as Raymond Tim Kee, who served as president of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF), while he was both Port of Spain Mayor and a treasurer in the PNM.
“So Azim Bassarath is not the first and I’m quite sure he wouldn’t be the last to be associated with any political organisation and being a sports administrator.
“For me or for any sports administrator, it is their fundamental right to be associated with any political organisation.”
Asked if he plans to seek political office, he replied, “There is no election in the air, so I can’t say ‘Yes, I’m going up for election’.”