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BAAA controversy now getting outside attention

Sports Scope

Published: May 30, 2013

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The controversy within the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) that revolves around the elected executives is now getting outside attention. In response to a column in this space that focused on concerns about the preparation for the upcoming (2014) International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Relay Championships, Professor Trevor Hall, Ph.D., has stepped into the picture.

“I just read your article, ‘Controversy hampers IAAF World Relays preparation’. I empathize with the organizational and probably political problems faced by the BAAA, in organizing the IAAF World Relays. We in Jamaica had our share of difficulties, and at one major international competition, Mr. Lamine Diack (IAAF president) himself had to intervene and force fighting Jamaican factions to stop the squabble and field our best relay team. Although our short sprinters have done an excellent job over the last few years, our men still cannot field a competitive 4x400 meters (m) relay team. This is a shame because we have so many fast short sprinters, and even competitive 400m hurdlers. Our problem is political,” informed the professor.

With firm opposing positions being taken by the two executive factions within the BAAA, it is becoming more and more probable that the IAAF will be getting involved pretty soon. The Harrison Petty/Carl Oliver/Iram Lewis faction is not sitting down on the claim by BAAA President Mike Sands that they were ousted in a no confidence vote by a legal gathering of BAAA personnel.

The trio, Petty (executive representative of the BAAA Track and Field Parents Association), Oliver (secretary general) and Lewis (BAAA first vice president), have created public a document purported to have 60 percent of the BAAA members supportive of them and insisting that they remain in their posts.

Also, a court injunction requiring all BAAA matters to be stayed as of the May 1 meeting, which resulted in the no confidence vote, has been granted. Sands appears to be sticking to his position that the so-called no confidence meeting was legal. So, the BAAA is faced with this great big conundrum. Earlier in this space, the possibility of past BAAA presidents Dr. Bernard Nottage and Desmond Bannister being called upon to be mediators was put forward.

Now, Professor Hall has offered his services. Such is the growing interest in the BAAA controversy. Something is looming, similar to the executive fight within the Bahamas Olympic Association (now committee) that started during the early 2000s and to some degree continued up to April of this year, through different administrations. No time frame is ideal for the deep controversy that is rocking the BAAA, but certainly now with so much that needs immediate attention, the existing problem is quite detrimental.

A compromise must be reached (with respect) in the interest of the nation’s track and field athletes.

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

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