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BAAA drama now takes legal turn

Sports Scope
  • Dr. Bernard Nottage.

FRED STURRUP

Published: May 14, 2013

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The latest development in the ongoing battle of the executives of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) is a court procedure.

A Supreme Court document, dated May 8, 2013, informs that Carl C. Oliver, Harrison Petty and Iram Lewis have applied for leave for a judicial review. The action is the response of the three aforementioned, who were elected to the positions of BAAA secretary general, executive representing the scholarship body and BAAA vice president respectively, last November.

A meeting the three deem unconstitutional was held and a vote of no confidence was reportedly taken and carried against them, thus the court action. An order was made before Justice Rhonda P. Bain, dated May 8, 2013, upon hearing Ruth Bowe-Darville of counsel for the applicants, Carl C Oliver, Harrison Petty and Iram Lewis.

It has been ordered that: “The said resolution/decision of the BAAA be stayed until the determination of this application and that all further removals and appointments from and to the executive board by and on behalf of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations be stayed until the determination of the applicants’ application herein the hearing of the application for judicial review be expedited.”

Such is by court order of the registrar.

There is a penal notice. It reads: “Take notice if you, the within named defendants, Mike Sands (president) et al fail to obey the order herein within the next seven days you will be liable for contempt and committed to Her Majesty’s Prisons at Fox Hill, Nassau, The Bahamas. Dated this 8th day of May, A.D. 2013. Commonwealth Law Advocates.”

The drag-out battle is now on. The BAAA will now be in disarray for quite some time. Meanwhile, the activities that are on schedule for the track and field athletes within the fold will be forced into the background of the controversy. This is very sad. This battle for executive power has seemingly taken priority over the development program.

It is debatable who most of the blame rests with. What is certain however is that never before under any other president, has the BAAA been in such a rowdy state. Sands is the only president in the history of the BAAA to have been removed from office by a vote of no confidence. The November elections were contentious and subsequently came the vote of no confidence by one group and the court action by the other.

It’s an incredible situation that hampers the positive development of athletics in particular and the national sports industry in general. My understanding is that there is a move afoot to solicit the help of former BAAA Presidents Dr. Bernard Nottage and Desmond Bannister as mediators in hopes that the matter can be settled without going through the entire court process.

Dr. Nottage made wide tracks in the sport on the regional and international levels when he presided over the organization. He understands the politics of the sport like few others. He would be an ideal mediator. Whether the sides would come to an agreement is yet to be determined. I do feel though that a quick solution is best for track and field in The Bahamas.

There is the great possibility that the sport that has been most successful in recent decades, regionally and internationally for The Bahamas, could become fragmented. Apparently the Oliver/Petty/Lewis faction has the support of the vast majority of the executives elected last November. Sands seems to have some influential council members in his corner. Petty has been head of that significant scholarships-producing group of parents from the start. They are responsible for the most track and field scholarships, obtained by Bahamian boys and girls of the sport.

Take them out of the mix or any drawback on their part would pose a big problem for the BAAA’s development program. Executives come and go. They can be replaced. Programs like that headed by Petty are another matter entirely. Hopefully, common sense will somehow prevail.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.


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