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Extraordinary General Meeting

Minutes of an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Members of the Channel Islands Contract Bridge Association held at the Hotel de France at 10.00am on 8th May 2011

Present – Peter Pitcher (Acting Chairman), Norman Le Cocq, John Honey, Pat Panter, Howard Basden-Smith and 44 members of the CICBA. Some other persons, who are also understood to be members of the CICBA, joined the meeting at the back after the start of the meeting, when the list of attendees had been circulated. No records were taken of the names of these persons.

Guernsey had been asked to provide a Chairman for this meeting but due to the absence of the majority of the Guernsey representatives (who were in fact in the building), Peter Pitcher was asked and accepted the role of Chairman.

Item 1 – The request for Guernsey to repay the entry fees in full following the abortive Green Point Pairs event on 13th March 2011. Agreement had been reached on this matter prior to the meeting and players attending were to be repaid their entry fee with a small deduction to cover the hire of the room and food provided.

Item 2 – That the County repay the balance of the Jersey players travelling expenses of £30 per person, assuming that the Special Fund is proposing to pay the first £40 as in previous years. This had been agreed prior to the meeting and the cost was to be borne by the Special Fund.

Item 3 – Subject to the above payments the meeting is to ascertain how the Special fund is to be funded from Guernsey. Without any definitive proposals forthcoming to confirm previous proposals of the Jersey Committee to wind-up the Fund and pay out the balance 50/50 to each Island.

Brian Youd said that Guernsey was suggesting that the profit from the Green Point Event held in Guernsey in March could be their contribution to the Special Fund. Jersey rejected this as there has never been any real profit from the Green Point events. This was rejected unanimously by the meeting – proposed by Brian Youd and seconded by Ken Wise.

John Honey then explained to the meeting the origins of the Special Fund. In the late 70’s the EBU agreed to allow the Channel Islands County status and to hold a Joint Venture Congress with sponsorship from the Gartmore Trust, as arranged by the late Douglas Romain. The profits from the Congress were to be divided equally between the EBU and the CICBA. The Special Fund account was then created and the purpose of this fund was to assist with the travelling costs of Channel Islanders going to compete in competitions on the Mainland such as The Tollemache, Pachabo etc and to promote bridge amongst younger players. Thanks to the tireless work of the many volunteers who have assisted with the organisation and running of the Jersey Congress over many years, this has been very profitable, funding inter-island travel both to County finals, the Inter-Insular and the Green Point event. It has also financed travel for delegates from Jersey and Guernsey attending meetings in the UK and the CICBA prize money at the Jersey Congress.

Due to the change of venue and economic climate generally the numbers attending the Congress have dwindled and last year the Congress raised £6,200 and this year it is likely to be in the region of £3,000. The cost to the Special Fund for 2011 is in the region of £7,000/7,500. It had been decided by the County Management Committee to reduce costs by removing the travel subsidy for the Green Point event, reducing the travel subsidy for inter-island travel and to run some of the lesser County Finals as Simultaneous events.

Despite this there is obviously a need for some additional fund raising and the Jersey District Committee feel that Jersey shouldn’t have to do more at the present time. With this in mind John Honey met Mike Allen (Guernsey District Chairman and now County Chairman) in September 2010 to discuss this problem and Guernsey District volunteered to apply to the EBU to run the Guernsey Congress on the same basis as the Jersey Congress (Joint Venture), but this was rejected by the EBU. Alternative suggestions discussed at this time was an increase in Table money in Guernsey with the funds collected going to the Special Fund and possible other fund raising events. Mike Allen however rejected these proposals saying that he would not be able to get the committee to agree to an increase in table money and “there was no appetite for fund-raising in Guernsey”.

The requisition to split the Special Fund was discussed at the County Management Meeting held at the Hotel de France on 1st May 2011. The shortage of funds in the Special Fund and the need for Guernsey to raise approximately £2,000 per annum was explained to the Guernsey representatives (Hugh Bacon – Acting Chairman, Robert Plumley, John Seymour, Martin Jones and Tuula Lehtinen) and as a result of this discussion the Guernsey Committee present agreed to raise table money by £1 and there was an offer of further fund-raising by Tuula Lehtinen. With this commitment agreed the Jersey delegates agreed to vote against the proposition to wind up the Special Fund.

Mike Allen, the absentee Chairman, was appraised of this decision but would not commit to this fund-raising until he had a full Committee Meeting in Guernsey.

At this point in the meeting an email that had been received from Martin Jones on 8 May 2011 was read to the meeting and a copy of this is attached to the Minutes with the reply.

Following the Management Meeting on 1st May 2011, Lynne Williamson, as one of only two Guernsey members playing on the Monday, had been approached regarding whether it would be possible for Guernsey to find a sponsor for the Guernsey Congress and negotiate with the EBU for Guernsey to keep it all – and for this to be used towards Guernsey’s fund raising commitment. Lynne pointed out that she was not on the Guernsey District Committee any more, but nevertheless she suggested that she might be able to find sponsorship money for the Guernsey Congress and it was hoped that this might be paid into the Special Fund. Her efforts were greatly appreciated. Lynne understood that a board meeting of the potential sponsoring company had been held to approve the first year’s sponsorship. However no negotiations had yet taken place with the EBU and therefore there was no certainty that any of the sponsorship money would go towards any Guernsey’s fund raising contribution. David Friswell was of the opinion that should Guernsey be able to get this sponsorship then the EBU might be co-operative.

It was suggested that the proposition to wind-up the Special Fund could be amended to allow time for Guernsey to put their fund-raising/sponsorship in place but it was pointed out that there could not be an amendment to an EGM proposal.

Pat Panter explained that the Jersey Congress is the only profit sharing congress in the UK . A question was raised as to whether the proposed sponsorship deal would be continuing or a one-off but obviously this could not be confirmed at this time.

It had been suggested that in future the Jersey Congress profits could be divided on the basis of 80% for Jersey and 20% for Guernsey but Brian Youd thought that it would be more equitable for the proceeds to be divided on a 75%/25% basis.

Peter Pitcher drew the discussions to a close with the hope that a satisfactory agreement could be reached between the two Islands.

The proposal to wind-up the Special Fund was put to the vote – there were at least 40 votes in favour of the proposition, no votes against and at least one abstention. The Chairman stated that the proposition was passed.

Following the formal meeting the floor was open for comments.

Martin Rogers asked whether it would be possible for the two Islands to become separate Counties as it was getting more and more difficult to travel between the two Islands. Some competitions were cancelled this year due to adverse weather and perhaps it would be possible to hold these competitions at a more favourable time.

Another suggestion from Jane Wakeham was that it would be much more pleasant to hold the Inter-Insular in the Spring or early summer. This could of course clash with the Jersey Congress.

John Panter enquired whether we were empowered to wind-up the Special Fund despite the huge majority in favour. Brian Youd replied that it was a properly convened meeting and the motion was passed.

The meeting closed at 10.45am.

Chairman ………………..……………

Date ……………….

Last updated : 1st Sep 2011 20:48 BST