I believe that many persons with an interest in the development of sports in Guyana are thankful that the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) has finally given the public an insight into its governance (Page 29, S/N May 6, 2012 – All our statements have been audited). This was done by no less a person than Mr. K. Juman-Yassin, who in his sixteenth year as President of the GOA, reveals that the GOA is one of those rare organisations that have their general meetings once every four years, and rarer still, that submit audited statement of accounts quadrennially.
In so doing, Mr. Juman-Yassin confirms and explains why I was not fortunate to see any such audited statements – I was not in the Guyana Tennis Association (GTA) long enough for one of those special events.
In responding to my statement about access to financial statements, Mr. Juman-Yassin’s contention is that the GOA follows the “rules of its constitution with respect to its financial requirements.” A similar claim can surely be made by the great and beloved North Korean leader about his government.
Mr. Juman-Yassin was very kind not to want to “create any problems” (for whom he did not say), even as he asserts that I “did not attend more than three meetings” of the GOA. That is true and for a very simple reason: the GTA is not a presidential organisation and during my term as President we decided, and communicated to the GOA, that the GTA would be represented at GOA’s meetings by our Secretary. Our representatives were Dr. Steve Surujbally and later Mr. Ramesh Seebarran, now President of the GTA.
In the Stabroek News report under reference, Mr. Juman-Yassin also confirms the procedure at meetings of the council of the GOA: each association briefly reports on its activities since the previous meeting. At none of the meetings I attended was the council asked to make, approve or ratify any decision, action, overseas representation or expenditure by what appears to be a small kitchen Cabinet, including Mr. Ivor O’Brien who I understand has been Secretary General of the GOA for twice as long as Mr. Juman-Yassin has been President! There certainly was no Treasurer’s report or any attempt at serious discussion. If anything, the meetings were perfunctory and represented top-down management at its basest.
Finally, Mr. Juman-Yassin is reported to have said that he has been trying to make contact with me. I would welcome his call as well as copies of the GOA’s most recent financial statements and any opportunity to discuss steps to make the GOA, a national umbrella sports organisation funded by the International Olympic Association, more democratic, effective and open, and one striving to better serve the country’s sportswomen and sportsmen who ought to be the sports administrator’s raison d’être.