The Berbice Cricket Board’s (BCB) Special Events Committee (SEC), since its formation in March 2008, had completed over 600 programmes/activities up to June 2013 when it became dormant after the resignation of its chairman Hilbert Foster due to illness.
The BCB since then was unable to complete any special event, but with the SEC being resuscitated in December last several programmes/activities have already started.
Foster, who was recently re-appointed chairman, disclosed that 2014 would be an exciting one for Berbice cricket as the work of the SEC would be unmatched by any other in the entire Caribbean.
The SEC has committed itself to raising funds for 17 cricket tournaments for the Ancient County at the Under-15, Under-17, Under-19, female, school, second division, intermediate and first division levels. These include Inter-zone tournaments at all the junior levels while special efforts would be made to obtain sponsorship for a three-day first division tournament in an effort to get the young cricketers to play the longer version of the game. The Berbice Under-21 cricket team would also be playing several cricket matches across the country.
Special emphasis would be placed on coaching with the unveiling of a massive coaching programme to be sponsored by Elizabeth Styles. Different clinics would be organised for batsmen, fast bowlers, spinners and wicket-keepers and these would be conducted by the most experienced coaches in Berbice.
Cricket clinics would also be arranged in each of the four zone areas, while educational posters and booklets would be printed and distributed. The annual Bank of Nova Scotia cricket academy would be held in July/August, while the highly successful Junior and Elite training programmes would once again be held.
Former West Indies Vice-captain and coach Roger Harper would also be approached to work along with several Berbice players, including leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo and fast bowler Brendon Bess, while a refresher course would also be organised for all cricket coaches in Berbice. The BCB would also be hosting a monthly television programme in an effort to inform the general public of its activities. Clubs in Berbice would also received donation of coaching kits to assist them in their coaching development programme.
Off the cricket field, the BCB would be involved in numerous programmes/projects in its continuing efforts to develop cricket in the Ancient County while making sure that every hero is recognised and honoured. Among the numerous programmes that would be organised are the BCB educational awards scheme, first aid seminar, annual awards ceremony on March 15, tribute to heroes, tribute to coaches, tribute to retired cricketers, tribute to managers, annual review magazine, senior players charity programme, social skills seminars for youth cricketers and assistance to youth cricketers. A billboard featuring West Indies female players would also be unveiled.
As part of its mandate as a Non-Governmental Organisation, the BCB would also be involved in several charity and social programmes, including donations to children orphanages, senior citizens homes and less fortunate families.
Seven established cricket clubs would also received books to establish mini-libraries for their members under the “Yes to reading programme.”
Over 30 clubs would also receive items to the cost of $1 million to assist their less fortunate members, while 100 young cricketers drawn from clubs across the county would also receive school bags and educational kits to assist them to stay in school and obtain an educational background.
Outstanding cricketers who performed well at the Grade Six Assessment Examinations and CSEC would also be honoured. Seven cricket clubs have also been earmarked to receive items like water pitchers, dust bins, water mugs and buckets to assist them to function properly, while 15 clubs would receive score books and notice boards in the BCB’s continuing efforts to assist functioning clubs.
75th anniversary activities
Chairman of the SEC, Hilbert Foster, would also head the BCB’s 75th anniversary committee. The BCB, during 2014, would be celebrating its Diamond Jubilee after its formation in 1939 to administer the game in Berbice.
The SEC and the 75th anniversary committee include Carl Moore, Anil Beharry, Angela Haniff, Leslie Solomon, Winston Smith, Moonish Singh, Gregory Rambarran and Rabindranauth Saywack. The anniversary would be celebrated throughout the year, but several major events would be organised during the month of September when the BCB hopes to host several former Test players and administrators.
The month of special events would be launched on September 7 with an inter-faith service and an anti-drugs/HIV march and rally involving all the junior cricket teams in Berbice. A cocktail reception and a live panel discussion on the history of Berbice cricket would be held on September 13 at the New Amsterdam Town Hall.
Other events planned for the anniversary in September are a music festival, open air exhibition featuring achievements over the 75 years, primary schools cricket coaching sessions, essay competition, donation of a television set to an orphanage, launching of the hall of fame for administrators, publication of the Diamond Jubilee official magazine, special 20/20 cricket match between Berbice and Georgetown and the distribution of 75 food hampers to senior citizens. A portrait of the greatest cricketer ever produced by Berbice would also be unveiled, while souvenirs like caps, tee-shirts and anniversary mugs would be available for special guests.
Foster issued a challenge to every club and their officials to work along with the SEC and 75th anniversary committee to make sure that all their plans are fulfilled.
According to Foster, the SEC, as it has done in the past, would work hard to bring success to Berbice cricket, but would need the cooperation of every stakeholder. The veteran cricket administrator is also urging businesses based in the Ancient County to assist the BCB as cricket is the most popular pastime for Berbicians.