EX-NATIONAL cricketer Zaheer Ali is again calling for reform of the laws and constitution governing the administration of local cricket.
In particular, he wants to see substantial changes in the way the TT Cricket Board (TTCB) operates to promote good administration and ensure transparency and accountability.
He has also suggested the establishment of an oversight body or mechanism to treat with disputes and conflicts when they arise.
Ali shared his views in a press release in response to Monday’s ruling by Justice Frank Seepersad who ordered the TTCB to appoint a five-member committee to investigate issues and concerns raised in a National Gas Company (NGC) financial audit which showed that a portion of sponsorship to the sporting body was spent without approval.
In his release, Ali said he hoped the judge’s pronouncements on the TTCB would move Sport Minister Shamfa Cudjoe to ‘immediately action long overdue calls for reform to promote greater transparency, accountability and good administration.” Last year, Ali wrote to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and Cudjoe asking that the TT Cricket Board of Control (Incorporation) Act be revisited to address concerns of conflict of interests.
He also called for the setting up of a commission of inquiry to look into the affairs of the TTCB and to “conduct a thorough and transparent enquiry into the administrative and operational aspects of the TTCB for legislative and constitutional reform.”
In his statement on Tuesday, Ali said Seepersad’s ruling that the TTCB was vested with the authority to administer its affairs and develop and amend its constitution and regulatory process, further justified the need for reform of the local cricketing body. Seepersad said the court had to be careful not to usurp the authority vested in the TTCB.
“The critical question that arises is that in the absence of the court what oversight body or mechanism is/are in place to ensure that the vested authority is being conscientiously utilised to promote good administration, transparency, and accountability and to treat with disputes/conflicts when they arise? “Hence, my repeated efforts and call for reform to address these gaps,” Ali said.
He welcomed the ruling, saying it was a victory, not only for cricket but all sporting disciplines in TT. “In recent times, I have brought several matters to the attention of the TTCB and the general public with the intention of promoting good governance and the matters were prematurely dismissed by the TTCB without proper consideration of the matters or consultation with stakeholders coupled with unwarranted personal attacks.
“I urge the current administration of the TTCB to take heed of the judge’s ruling which read as follows: ‘Those charged with the obligation to manage the sport should do so conscientiously always mindful that the game must stand above their personal interests’,” he said.