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Local track and field body continues on slippery slope

Sports Scope

Published: Nov 11, 2013

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I had no intention to address, again, the controversy that the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) is bogged down in. My position was to allow the matter to flow to an end, with the one hope that the foundation of the sport would not ultimately be too seriously damaged.

Then, came another development that further demonstrated that track and field in this country is on a slippery slope. I have been informed that at a general meeting held this past Wednesday night by the BAAA, a motion was passed to have a no-confidence vote regarding the 14 current executives, happen within 14 days. This is the latest of an ongoing set of odd circumstances.

Last November, BAAA elections were held and there were major changes in the make-up of the executive group. An impasse developed between the president and several other executives. In a so-called official meeting earlier this year, a vote of no-confidence was put to the floor, resulting in three of the executives purportedly being removed. However, one of those officers could not be removed in such a fashion. I understand, that an ex-officio executive as a result of the BAAA’s relationship with an associated organization, cannot be eliminated in that manner.

On top of that, presently there are court proceedings, involving three members against others of the BAAA, that have thrown the national parent body for track and field into turmoil. It’s as if the BAAA moves from one comical stage to the other.

What will come of this latest move is uncertain. What is of grave concern however is that the BAAA is pivotal to a huge economic investment by the Bahamian people. The BAAA happens to be at the center of the process that enabled The Bahamas to get the go-ahead to host the fist two world relays to be organized by the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF).

It’s important for the BAAA to be in order, with such an investment ongoing. The taxpayers deserve as much. The Government of The Bahamas is responsible for pledging the people’s money, in the amount of millions of dollars, to enable the IAAF inaugural event to take place in May of 2014. There is a big responsibility that’s squarely with the government.

Bear in mind that governments are not authorized to get into the functioning of sports federations. International parent sports organizations frown on interference of governments in the operation of member national bodies. However, in this case, with the IAAF having full knowledge of the joint business venture of the 2014 World Relays, it has to be acceptable for the Government of the Bahamas to do whatever is legally necessary to safeguard the investment of the taxpayers.

Accordingly, hopefully, the BAAA will get its act together, soon. The Government of The Bahamas has a big stake in this issue.

Prime Minister Perry Christie, despite being beset with other national issues of high importance, cannot afford to ignore the BAAA dilemma. Somehow, the taxpayers need to be assured that the unhealthy state of affairs within the BAAA will not create a serious problem with their investment.

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

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