By Sam Sooppersaud
The PROCESS: What an excellent choice of a word used as the vehicle to accomplish a task in an orderly and effective manner. But in the case of the NYCR Elections PROCESS is a “misuse” of the word. As Mr. John Aaron, the Secretary of USACA so rightly assessed recently, “the upcoming NYCR election appears to be mired in controversy…”
Let us look at the “process.” On March 19, 2011, Mr. Patrick Sutherland, the Elections Secretary appointed by the Regional Chairman Mr. Selwyn Caesar, sent out a notification of the various positions that will be filled through election or appointment. He invited interested persons to submit a resume and to apply for candidacy for the positions each person wished to contest. The deadline for submission of the Resume was April 16, nearly a month from the date that the notification was sent out. The date set for the interviewing of applicants was April 23th. The Elections Secretary sent out a subsequent notification stating that the deadline for candidates to submit one’s resume was extended to April 22 and the new date for interviews was set at April 26. Prior to the extension of the deadline the people who were interested in the various positions had sent out their resumes in keeping with the original deadline of April 16th.
Why was the deadline extended? I would answer unequivocally, to satisfy the ambitions of a self-serving individual masquerading as a cricket administrator. Mr. Paul DaSilva, the president of the Nassau Cricket League and Chairman of the Elections Committee had called Mr. Selwyn Caesar, the Chairman of the NYCR and requested that the deadline be extended. Whatever reason he gave to Mr. Caesar, it convinced the NYCR Chairman and he gave DaSilva the go ahead to extend the deadline. As stated in Mr. Aaron’s comments, Mr. DaSilva has aspirations of being elevated to the position of NYCR Representative to the USACA Board. Mr. DaSilva did not communicate this to the regional chairman, neither did he submit a resume signifying his interest in contesting the position within the original deadline (April 16), as Mr. Caesar told Mr. Aaron, “I did not anticipate Paul inserting himself in the race for Regional Representative.” So in order to now get in his resume Mr. DaSilva somehow convinced Mr. Caesar to go along with the extension of the deadline. Quite shrewd.
Once the extension was announced Mr. Aaron made enquiries to verify whether proper protocol was followed in the effort to extend the deadline. None of the other six league presidents said that they were consulted on the extension issue. No one spoke to them seeking to extend the deadline. We heard these words coming from the various presidents: “I have nothing to do with extension of the deadline…” ‘It’s absurd what’s going on…” “…I was not privy to any discussion regarding the extension….” “the process was corrupt…. It’s not fair to the candidates who had applied by the deadline….” So there it is folks one man’s intent on satisfying his lust for power and prestige, undermining an otherwise fair process.
Now back to Mr. Aaron’s assessment that the upcoming NYCR election (process) appears to be mired in controversy. Well, Mr. Aaron, I will change the word “appears” to a simple transitive verb, “is.” I can unequivocally say that the upcoming NYCR election is definitely mired in controversy. I am one of the candidates who were interviewed.
Controversy Fact # 1: As I entered the meeting/interview hall I saw several individuals in conversation. I got into a conversation with Mr. Ricky Singh. A few minutes later Mr. Selwyn Caesar, the NYCR Chairman came over and greeted us. He first shook Mr. Singh’s hand, and then turning to me he shook my hand and said to me, “How are you Mr. Secretary?” I asked him “secretary of what” to which he replied, “You are the only one who applied for the secretary’s job.” The process had not even started, so how am I being “given” the job? (I have underlined this quote for easy reader reference later in this article). Mr. Singh was still standing near the two of us and he heard what was said by both Mr. Caesar and me. All three of us giggled.
Sitting around the interview table were the presidents of five leagues: Rudy Persaud (EACA), Milford Lewis (NY), Macellus Bailey (Metropolitan), Lesly Lowe (Commonwealth), Paul DaSilva (Nassau), along with NYCR Chairman Selwyn Caesar, and Patrick Sutherland, who introduced himself as “representing the Brooklyn league.”
Controversy Fact # 2: It was my understanding that the interviews were to be conducted by the NYCR Chairman and the league presidents. Mr. Sutherland is not a league president, what was he doing at the table? No where was it mentioned that a league president may send in a representative to participate in the interviewing of candidates.
From the start it was very apparent that Mr. Paul DaSilva had assumed the role of “chief interviewer.” At one stage of my interview I got the distinct impression that Mr. DaSilva was doing his best to convince the other gentlemen that I would not have enough time to do my duties as the secretary due to my involvement in other cricket activities. His question to me was, “You know this will be a job that will take a lot of your time, would you have that much time to do it?” My answer was, “I am now retired with all the time to spare. I have decided to make cricketing activities my vocation. Whatever time it takes for me to do my job efficiently and effectively, I will do it.” But DaSilva continued with his negative line of, “Would you have enough time?” monologue. It is my feeling that he was trying his very best to paint a negative impression of me in the minds of the other folks. He was doing his best to openly railroad my candidacy.
Another question asked of me by Mr. Mascellus Bailey was, “If you are the Secretary would you continue to write the things you are writing about USACA?” He said that he has read many articles written by me and that I wrote many negative things about USACA, and if I would do the same things about the NYCR. My answer to that was that as the secretary of the NYCR I will try to do my best, but when I put on my journalist hat I will “write the things as I see them, and as objectively as possible.” (I later learned that word had come down from a higher-up at USACA that, “I don’t want Sooppersaud in the NY Regional Administration.” This was told to me by a very reliable source.
In answer to other questions I told the interviewers that I believe in the right of the constituents to know what their elected officials are doing. I will be transparent in what I do, with information flowing both ways: to me, and I, informing the stakeholders what is going on. I would have no part in favoritism, nepotism, partiality, or a “you-wash-my-hand-and-I-will-wash-your-hand” type of dealings. Whatever I do I will be able to “show you the beef.” I was very plain and candid with my interviewers. Now, why am I giving all these details concerning my interview? Read on!
Today while relaxing at home I received a call from a source. All I can say is that he knows first-hand, “everything that was said during and after all the interviews were completed. Two of the people who conducted the interviews reportedly said, “They would not be comfortable with Sooppersaud as the Secretary.”
I know Mr. Paul DaSilva would definitively not be comfortable with me because about a decade or more ago while he was the President of the EACA, I was the Secretary, and while he was conducting a General Meeting in which he bluntly refused to follow the Constitution of the EACA, I, as the Secretary, cautioned him that he had to follow the Constitution at which point he told me and the meeting that he was the President and he does not have to follow the Constitution, and he can do whatever he wants to do. Everyone insisted then that he had to follow the Constitution. To make this story short, he was booted out of the presidency that same day. So, yes, Paul would be uncomfortable with me around the NYCR.
Controversy Fact # 3: They would prefer to give the job to Patrick Sutherland. Let me repeat, give the job. This is what my source told me was said. Mind you, Sutherland did not submit a resume nor applied for the job. Is it anybody’s job to give? I thought you had to apply for the position you are seeking? The fact that Mr. Sutherland did not submit a resume was substantiated by the statement of the Regional Director Mr. Selwyn Caesar, when he greeted me on entering the meeting hall, “You are the only one who applied for the secretary’s job.”
Controversy Fact # 4: Further, my source informed me that Sutherland had first wanted to seek the Treasurer’s position, but he has now decided “to take the Secretary’s job and give the Treasurer’s job” to a young lady he brought with him. She is the Treasurer of the Brooklyn League. Neither of these two sent in a resume or applied for any positions.
I’ll take this job and give that to you. Preposterous!
As for me, this is what I have to say. I sent in my resume and applied to fill the secretarial position because I felt that I have the experience of a cricket organization’s secretary, having done that job in several leagues. I am passionate about cricket and want to use my vast experience to help the NYCR move its cricket program forward. It’s not what the NYCR can do for me, but rather, what I can do for the NYCR.
I understand why a few of the presidents may be uncomfortable with me. I don’t sell favors nor do I buy favors. I don’t play the “friendship thing” and I don’t contribute to favoritism, to nepotism, to “you do for me and I’ll do for you.” I call it the way I see it. I do not operate according the MO of those people who seek power and prestige and self aggrandizement, while masquerading as do-gooders. Yes, they would be uncomfortable with me around.
If I have to sacrifice my principles and ideals just because I want to be counted, then I say, KEEP YOUR JOB.
The views expressed here are those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of www.newyorkcricket.com