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Petty shows a petition not supporting ‘no confidence’ vote

Claims petition is signed by 60 percent of the BAAA membership
  • Harrison Petty.

Guardian Sports Editor

Published: May 28, 2013

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To say that the three executive members who were apparently ousted from the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) are not taking the matter lying down, would probably be an understatement.

On May 1, at what BAAA President Mike Sands termed as an “extra-ordinary and duly constituted meeting”, a vote of “no confidence” was conducted in First Vice President Iram Lewis, Secretary General Carl Oliver, and Harrison Petty, a sitting member of the executive body due to his presidency over the BAAA Parents Association of Track and Field Athletes.

A week later, Petty, Lewis and Oliver, applied for judicial review from the Supreme Court challenging their removal from office as executive members of the BAAA, arguably the most successful sporting body in the country. Just after the application for judicial review, the court ordered that the decision of the BAAA be stayed until the determination of the application, but now, Petty has in his possession a petition which he states is signed by 60 percent of the BAAA membership, not supporting the “no confidence” votes, and the consequent removal from office of the three aforementioned persons.

“In a democracy, the majority rules, and what you would see is a self explanatory petition signed by 60 percent of the membership, that does not support the May 1st vote of “no confidence” exercise which is null and void in any case because it was not handled properly. It was absolutely wrong,” said Petty. “Some of the names would have been at the meeting but they were misled. The persons on this petition are all members of the BAAA - 11 out of 19 executives and 45 signatures in total. Clearly, they are not in support of the vote of ‘no confidence’ and the removal from office.”

Sands was unavailable for comment yesterday, but in an earlier press conference he stated that not only was the meeting which resulted in the “no confidence” votes duly recognized and constitutional, but that the result is valid and official, and the body is now prepared to heal its wounds and move forward. He said that the meeting, which was chaired by one of its council members Dr. Cyprian Strachan, resulted in a “no confidence” vote in Lewis by a count of 33-3, Oliver by a count of 36-2, and Petty by a unanimous vote of 36-0. He said that the numbers reflected over 51 percent of the membership present, as mandated by the constitution of the BAAA.

However, those numbers certainly don’t reflect the number of signatories on the petition. There is apparently less than 75 voting members in the BAAA, but according to Sands 33 people voted against Lewis, and 36 against Oliver and Petty, and Petty is stating that there are 45 signatures on the petition.

“The numbers are the numbers. The most powerful thing in our possession right now is the signatures of 60 percent of the BAAA membership. We’re acting on their advice,” said Petty, who assured that they are not backing down and will continue to act in their respective roles. “The track and field people are interested in getting the BAAA going. We are interested in the sport and the development of the youth. We want to put the politics behind us. Obviously, the majority of the members want us to continue, and we are going to continue to act in our positions. We want to promote the athletes and the respective programs.”

In the petition, which was distributed to the media yesterday and addressed to Sands and the association’s executive body, Petty, Lewis and Oliver are charging that the “no confidence” vote of May 1, was unconstitutional, based on their determination that the process was totally against basic principles of justice and fairness in a number of ways.

Firstly, they are stating that the notice of impending meeting stated that the agenda was, “The Way for Forward for the BAAA”, and that there was nothing in the e-mail that mentioned that a vote of “no confidence” would be cast in three executive members. Also, the petition is stating that the above named trio was not in attendance, and not given notice in any form that a motion of “no confidence” and votes of “no confidence” would be moved against them. Finally, the petition is stating that the men have not been notified of the charges against them, and were not given the opportunity to defend themselves against the charges.

According to Petty, they were on their way to a meeting last night, and any attempt to prevent them from taking part in the meeting “would be in breach of a court injunction.”

However, Sands said that the three positions are in the process of being filled, and they are prepared to move the BAAA forward. The BAAA still has to deal with the preparation of athletes for five international meets this year including the International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships, as well as the rapidly approaching open national championships. The BAAA Open National Championships are set for June 21-22, at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex, in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

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