TODAY’s election of a new executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board of Control (TTCB) has been stopped by the High Court following an agreement made between the incumbent regime and the opposing team led by former West Indies cricketers Dinanath Ramnarine and Daren Ganga.
High Court judge Carol Gobin ratified a Consent Order late yesterday that the TT CB would not hold today’s elections, as the Ramnarine-led slate filed a lawsuit for judicial review and an injunction, seeking to stop the elections.
Ramnarine wants to hold the TT CB accountable for a number of alleged breaches. Yesterday, Ramnarine, who is a former West Indies spin bowler; national cricketers Daren Ganga, Samuel Badree, Anil Kamal, Camal Basdeo and St Servius Clint Pamphile, went before Justice Gobin with Senior Counsel Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, to stop today’s Annual General Meeting at the National Cricket Centre in Couva.
In the lawsuit which Maharaj intends to argue, Ramnarine and his five cricketing colleagues contended that certain articles of the TT CB’s constitution governing the election process, is unconstitutional.
They referred to the executive members of the TT CB who are elected by the board, with six votes to be cast by members who have been nominated by the present executive board and who are vying for re-election.
Another six votes, accoding to Article 4 (1) of the constituiton which the Ramnarine-led slate are objecting to, is to be derived from the outgoing executive themselves. In effect, an undisputed block of 12 votes is secured by the existing executive who holds office. This process, Maharaj SC is contending, is unfair, illegal, and undemocratic.
Maharaj, together with attorney Vivek Lakhan-Joseph, further contended that Zonal councils nominate three members to the TT CB, but of the elections which took places in the zones - North-East, Central, and East zones, serious irregularities occurred.
Outgoing officers and nominated persons were allowed to cast votes, the lawsuit alleged.
Maharaj therefore contended that a serious and real risk exist, that the carded elections for today, would be unconstitutional, irrational and infected with bias.
Yesterday in court, TT CB’s president Azim Bassarath, 1st vice-president Dr Allen Sammy and CEO and former national cricketer Suruj Ragoonath, were present, they having been served a copy of the application and injunction. The hearing was inter- parte.
Justice Gobin heard an emegency hearing of the lawsuit and when the case was called, Maharaj said that attorneys for the TT CB had communicated with him, and, had agreed by consent, not to conduct the elections today. Attorney Anil Maraj announced that Senior Counsel Fyard Hosein, would be representing the TT CB.
The judge directed that the applicants file further affidavits by the October 28, and, that the TT CB file evidence in response by November 4. Hearing will take place on November 8 in the Hall of Justice.
Among the constitutional changes Ramnarine had been lobbying for are the implementation of a one club-one vote system, removal of the 12 outgoing votes and term limits for the president.
Ramnarine, former president of the West Indies Players Association, also wants to see the Tobago Cricket Association, Primary schools, Secondary schools, Umpires Council and Women’s Cricket all have a seat on the executive of the TT CB, while being full members.
CEO of the TT CB, Ragoonath, confirmed on Facebook that both parties agreed to an adjournment.
He wrote, “this is not a victory for anyone...the parties agreed to an adjournment with the TT CB leading the request so that in the interest of all parties the matter could be properly ventilated.
The papers were filed by Dinas and his team late yesterday (Thursday) evening and even their senior attorney Ramesh L Maharaj admitted to not reading the application as yet. The TT CB simply acted in a responsible manner so that the elections can be held without any clouds over it. That is good practice...” Ramnarine also shared his views, stating, “the objection (sic) of the six National League Reps was to stop the TT CB elections and that was accomplished. As such, we are pleased with the outcome and we look forward to the substantive matter now before the Courts to be determined.”