|BLTA president goes route of mediator|
Guardian Columnist/Sales Executive
Published: Sep 12, 2012
Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) President Derron Donaldson, concerned over the deep controversy the organization is embroiled in, has opted to appoint a mediator.
On Tuesday, the BLTA chief expressed his wish to resolve the infighting that has erupted recently.
“I acknowledge the back-and-forth communications have not been favorable to the development of tennis. I accept that the situation demands a decision on my part in the interest of the organization. No one person is bigger than the organization. As a result, I will solicit the assistance of someone steeped in the business of tennis in The Bahamas, to be the mediator at this point. After consultation with others who are independent observers and interested only in the well-being of the sport, I took the position that a mediator is the best route,” said Donaldson.
Emphasizing his interest in a “balanced approach” to the hot tennis issues, he was accompanied by veteran tennis contributor Bradley Bain. Ironically Bain recently ran into difficulties with the Donaldson-led executive and decided to discontinue any association with the BLTA. However, he had a change of heart when approached by Donaldson subsequently.
“Yes, there was a problem. Something happened to me that was unfortunate. I’m thinking though about what is best for tennis. What has been going on is not progressive and sends bad messages to the youngsters who aspire to be quality tennis players. The development of the young is special to me so I’m naturally inclined to work toward that end.
“I have a high level of appreciation for the decision of the president to call in a mediator. I support the position that the situation in the BLTA has gotten to the point whereby a mediator is the right way to go,” said Bain.
It surely is crisis time in the BLTA. The 1st Vice President Dentry Mortimer is estranged from Donaldson. The secretary has been accused of not doing the job properly. Dedicated members have severed their connection with Donaldson and those executives who support him. A statement was released by Donaldson, informing of the removal of Mortimer as the director of the junior program. The subvention applications made on behalf of certain qualified players have been frozen because of conflicting communications that have reached Director of Sports Tim Munnings.
Indeed the scenario is ripe for a mediator, a neutral individual, to sit with all of the tennis partners. Donaldson is to be congratulated for his stand. He accepted ultimate blame for the tennis uproar and said he is determined to resolve the issue in the best interest of the many young girls and boys who play the sport and all others in the tennis family.
This is not a comfortable administrative time for Donaldson. He admitted also that the BLTA faces suspension from the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for a situation he inherited. There is the matter of the non-payment of funds to players who took part in a tournament endorsed by the BLTA. The responsibility has been placed at the doorstep of the BLTA.
“We have to sort this out otherwise we could be suspended for a long time. That would mean no Federation Cup, no Davis Cup,” said Donaldson.
With that situation hanging over his head, it does make good sense to seek to get the infighting over. According to Donaldson, in making the appointment, he will look to “someone like Mickey Williams” who is expected to be fair across the board and who can sit and talk with all of those involved in the controversy. Williams is a past president of the BLTA and presently an ITF official.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com)